Shock two-week JLR shut­down could see agency staff jump ship

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NOSTALGIA - By JAMES RODGER and ASH­LEY PREECE

TRACK work­ers at trou­bled Jaguar Land Rover plants say “it’s all a bit doom and gloom” fol­low­ing the shock two-week shut­down an­nounce­ment.

The UK car gi­ant will close its Lode Lane plant in Soli­hull from Oc­to­ber 22 to Novem­ber 5 fol­low­ing a let­ter out­lin­ing “poor sales dur­ing Septem­ber”.

A let­ter ad­dressed to DHLem­ployed staff in Soli­hull said: “This has re­sulted in 25,000 cars be­ing held at sales cen­tres wait­ing to be sold”, re­ports Birm­ing­hamLive.

Jaguar Land Rover an­nounced how 57,114 ve­hi­cles were sold last month, down 12.3 per cent yearon-year. JLR also an­nounced how sales in China de­clined by 46.2 per cent through­out Septem­ber.

The two-week “pro­duc­tion freeze” will, ac­cord­ing to David Bai­ley, Pro­fes­sor of In­dus­try at As­ton Univer­sity, af­fect 10,000 work­ers at the Soli­hull plant, or al­most a quar­ter of JLR’s work­force.

“My own back-of-an-en­ve­lope cal­cu­la­tions sug­gest that the twoweek shut­down could see 14 to 15,000 fewer ve­hi­cles be­ing made,” he said, “in­di­cat­ing that JLR must have built up con­sid­er­able stock lev­els as de­mand slack­ened.

“These are mod­els with big pre­mi­ums so ex­pect a hit of over £600m on the firm’s rev­enues for the year, and as much over £100m on the bot­tom line.

Pro­duc­tion at JLR’s Lode Lane plant, mean­while, could hit a snag once work­ers re­turn on Novem­ber Morale is quite low to be hon­est. I feel like we are kept in the dark about the state of

the com­pany 5 - as agency staff could look else­where for work.

An agency JLR worker based in Soli­hull, who didn’t want to be named, told the Telegraph: “The mood is very mixed.

“The JLR work­ers are non­plussed as they are hav­ing two weeks off paid, al­beit with­out shift pre­mium.

“The prob­lem is now with DHL, agency and now sup­pli­ers.

“DHL are not giv­ing any­thing away with re­gards to how they are go­ing to pay or not pay their work­ers.

“The lack of in­for­ma­tion is deaf­en­ing.

“Agency staff like me are also be­ing kept in the dark.”

Our source added: “The prob­lem with the agency staff and driv­ers is that we re­cently had a wage up­lift to ef­fec­tively ring-fence staff from leav­ing to go to the likes of Ama­zon and Tesco for the Christ­mas rush.

“The big prob­lem is that peo­ple are go­ing to now go where the money and the jobs are, and will be re­luc­tant to re­turn when JLR re­turn which, in essence, means that when the track starts run­ning again they may not have the staff to man the sup­pli­ers, fork­lifts and HGVs - which ob­vi­ously means that there are more than likely go­ing to be wider reper­cus­sions in the fol­low­ing weeks.”

An­other anony­mous agency worker says it’s “a case of when rather than if” his job will go at JLR.

He said: “I’m on agency and, un­for­tu­nately, it feels a case of when rather than if my job goes even­tu­ally.

“All we hear is bad news. I thought our plant was do­ing OK and it was Cas­tle Brom that was strug­gling but, ob­vi­ously, it’s the whole com­pany.

“Morale is quite low to be hon­est. I feel like we are kept in the dark about the state of the com­pany.”

Mean­while, a JLR-em­ployed em­ployee over in Cas­tle Bromwich says “ev­ery­one is ex­pect­ing re­dun­dancy in the New Year”.

“It’s all a bit doom and gloom,” he said.

“There’s a fair bit of re­sent­ment as to why no staff have been af­fected [in Cas­tle Bromwich] which I must agree with.

“Ev­ery­one is ex­pect­ing a re­dun­dancy in the New Year.

“This hap­pens ev­ery eight to 10 years in the mo­tor in­dus­try so a lot of us have been here be­fore.

“The Brexit is­sue and diesel ex­cuse is con­ve­nient to hide be­hind it’s just a good way to mask the sit­u­a­tion.”

In a state­ment is­sued on Mon­day, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesman said: “Cus­tomer or­ders in the sys­tem will not be im­pacted and em­ploy­ees af­fected will be paid for the du­ra­tion of the shut­down.”

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