IT’S DOOM AND GLOOM AT JLR
Workers tell of low morale as they wait for axe to swing
AGGRIEVED staff at Jaguar Land Rover plants have lifted the lid on their anger and bitterness among colleagues, with one admitting: “Most people are waiting for the axe to swing”.
Employees returned to work a fortnight ago following a twoweek shutdown period after JLR chiefs announced a freeze in vehicle production.
It came after the luxury UK car giant announced that sales had fallen by 13.2 per cent to 129,887 vehicles for the three months to September 30.
The company also reported revenues of £ 5.6 billon and a pretax loss of £ 90 million for the same period.
And one of its biggest suppliers, Unipart, revealed that it had a contingency plan if JLR was to announce an early Christmas shutdown.
A number of workers at Castle Bromwich, Tyre Fort in Erdington, and Solihull say staff are wary following months of uncertainty. One agency worker at Tyre Fort said: “Workers here think that there is some sort of shutdown still going ahead. There is no motivation and morale is low. “Some people have been told off the record that things will get worse. If we have another shutdown, agency workers are unsure if we will be paid again. “The job hunt is still going strong for me, with more than 70 jobs applied for.” Elsewhere, a JLR employee at Castle Bromwich says the majority of the workforce are “p*** ed off” and the “atmosphere is depressing”.
“There’s a lot of bitterness because nobody is telling the lads and girls on the shopfloor what’s going on, when they’re off etc,” he added.
“It’s the usual cloak and dagger stuff that always happens. If they announce a redundancy, people will take it because, quite frankly, they’re p*** ed off.
“This situation is mostly down to JLR trying to grow too big too quick. Most people are just waiting for the axe to swing. There is
zero trust in the management. Although Brexit is an issue, the vast majority of the problems can be traced back to poor decisions when everyone, including myself, warned them.
“The trouble is that they wouldn’t listen. Unless TATA change how the place is run, there is no future.”
Elsewhere, a DHL worker at JLR in Lode Lane, Solihull, says staff have been doing overtime to pay back time owed during the two- week stand- down.
“Everyone is angry,” he said. “We came back off a two- week stand- down to find out they are putting overtime on of a weekend and people are having to do the overtime to pay back the hours. We are unsure if a stand- down is happening at Christmas. Lots of rumours are going around.”
According to a Manpower worker on the production line at Lode Lane, JLR has been “too reliant on selling diesel cars” and “there’s nothing but negativity”.
“The Government isn’t helping with the diesel situation,” he said. “But I think JLR are too reliant on selling diesel cars. They built a new- build hall and body shop at Solihull four years ago, along with new factories in Brazil, Slovakia and China. Why didn’t they adapt these buildings straightaway and start building hybrid and electric cars back then? They could have got ahead of all their competition, rather than now playing catch- up with the likes of Tesla and BMW. These electric cars may be the company’s one saving grace, although they are just a bit late to the party. There are endless rumours about shifts being cut, Christmas standdowns, and staff being laid off. It’s always in the back of my mind if I’m going to lose my job or not and it’s been like this for most of the year.”
Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Dr Ralf Speth has said that the company is taking action to reverse recent losses.
He recently said the firm has “launched far- reaching programmes to deliver cost and cashflow improvements”. Dr Speth added: “Together with our ongoing product offensive and calibrated investment plans, these efforts will lay the foundations for long- term sustainable, profitable growth.”
Workers leave the Castle Bromwich factory and, right, JLR chief executive Ralf Speth