Jaguar Land Rover has commenced a five-day-long shutdown at its engine plant and three car plants in the UK related to Brexit preparations, which come on top of a shutdown during the Easter period.
The shutdown was announced in January in anticipation of a “potential Brexit disruption” when Britain had been expected to leave the EU on March 29.
The shutdown is taking place despite the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, and on whether the UK will be able to gain a further extension to Article 50 beyond April 12, or crash out without a deal.
JLR is one of several UK automakers that had taken steps to avert potential widespread disruptions were the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal. Last year, BMW said that it would move its maintenance shutdown to April as well to “minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts supply disruption.”
This shutdown also went ahead at the start of the month, despite the uncertainty around when Brexit would happen.
The industry has repeatedly called for clarity on Brexit and warned of the devastating impact that a no-deal Brexit could have. Labour’s shadow minister for business and industry Rebecca Long-Bailey pointed to the example of JLR to highlight the need for a deal. ‘At this difficult time for the sector, certainty on future trade with the EU is vital,” she said on Monday.
The Liberal Democrats pointed to the shutdown as a potentially “terrible sign of things to come”, if the government continued on the current trajectory. “Labour and the Conservatives must take action to protect jobs and our economy by agreeing to give the public a final say with a People’s Vote and option to remain in the EU.”