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