JLR says the Halewood factory, which currently employs 4,000 people directly plus another 500 agency workers, would be switching from three shifts to two. Tony McDonough reports
Hundreds of jobs are being axed at the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) car assembly plant in Merseyside.
JLR says that as part of its “transformation programme’ the Halewood factory, which currently employs 4,000 people directly plus another 500 agency workers, would be switching from three shifts to two.
The Unite union, which represents workers at the site, called the news “a further blow to the UK car industry” and it comes less than two weeks after the company said Halewood’s two models – the Evoque and the Discovery Sport – were spearheading its global sales recovery.
In a statement, JLR said: “Through its ongoing transformation programme, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance, enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of our business.
“Central to the Halewood manufacturing strategy, we are moving from a three shift to a “two-plus” shift pattern from April 2020. This will deliver significant operating efficiencies at the plant, while enabling us to meet the growing customer demand for our new Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
“This change in shift pattern affects around 10% of Halewood’s workforce. Jaguar Land Rover Halewood employees have the opportunity to leave through an enhanced voluntary redundancy programme.”
Earlier this month JLR said sales in the last quarter of 2019 had been boosted by a 33.2% surge in sales of the Evoque with the Discovery Sport also seeing an impressive rise in sales of 19.6%. The company has invested £110m at Halewood to upgrade it to assemble the latest generation Evoque.
Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “This is a further blow to the UK car industry in general and to our members at Halewood in particular. Unite will be ensuring that the commitment to limit job losses to voluntary redundancies is fully honoured.
“The challenges being faced at JLR are also being experienced by other UK car factories. The UK’s car industry has plummeted from being the jewel in the crown of the UK’s manufacturing sector in a few short years, directly as a result of Government inaction.
“Until the Government ensures that there is long-term frictionless trade and no tariffs with the European Union, along with meaningful investment in the infrastructure to ensure the success of electric vehicles, the UK’s car industry will continue to experience severe challenges.”