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Jaguar Land Rover is to cut the number of temporary workers it employs on its factory floors, putting up to 1,100 people at risk of losing their jobs.
The car manufacturer said it had been significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with retail sales down by almost a third at the beginning of 2020.
As a result, it said it had “taken the difficult decision to reduce the number of contract-agency employees in its manufacturing plants over the coming months”.
JLR “responded quickly” to the pandemic by temporarily shutting down its factories earlier this year, but it has since reopened its manufacturing plants in Solihull, Halewood in Merseyside, and overseas.
“As a result of the impact of worldwide lockdowns on sales and plant shutdowns, free cash flow was negative c. £1.5 billion in April and May,” it said.
According to the Unite union, agency workers in the UK are employed by Manpower and predominantly work on JLR’s car production line.
A Manpower spokesperson said: “Through its ongoing transformation programme, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance and achieve further operational efficiencies to enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of its business.
“Unfortunately this will impact a number of our associate roles. Our people are our priority – all of those impacted have been informed and we have established a dedicated website to answer any questions and provide support. We know this is an uncertain and difficult time for all those impacted and we are committed to doing all we can to provide specialised training and work opportunities to these dedicated and skilled workers.”
The union claimed that around 400 jobs would be lost at JLR’s plant at Solihull with the remaining job losses spread over other sites in the West Midlands and Merseyside.
Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Given the unprecedented drop in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was all but inevitable that job losses would be announced.
“It is another devastating blow for our auto sector and the communities that rely on them for jobs. We urge the government to get on with delivering the urgently needed sector support package, as other countries such as France and Germany have done, so that we can stem the tide of redundancies.”
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