As headwinds continue, JLR moves to cut production at Castle Bromwich plant

Vidya Ram London | Updated on September 17, 2018 Published on September 17, 2018

The company said it would continue to “overproportionally invest” in new products and technologies   -  REUTERS

Half the 2,000 workers at UK plant put on 3-day week

Just days after it warned of the deep impact a no-deal Brexit would have on its UK businesses, Jaguar Land Rover has said it would put workers at its Castle Bromwich plant on a three-day work week, pointing to “continuing headwinds” impacting the industry.

The company said that following a regular review of its production schedule to ensure market demand was balanced globally it was making “temporary adjustments” to production schedules at Castle Bromwich.

Mishandling of transition

The BBC said that it would impact around 1,000 workers of the 2,000 at the plant, who would remain on full pay. The company said it would continue to “overproportionally invest” in new products and technologies and remained committed to the UK plants to which they had committed £4 billion in the past eight years.

The local MP for Birmingham Erdington Jack Dromey blamed the government’s mishandling of the transition from diesel engines and Brexit, which he said threatened the “jewel in the crown” of British manufacturing excellence.

Last week, JLR CEO Ralf Speth warned that if the government failed to achieve the “right Brexit” profits would be wiped out at the car company, leading to job cuts in the “tens of thousands.” “Currently, I do not even know if any of our manufacturing facilities in the UK will be able to function on the 30th (of March next year),” he told a conference last week, of the day after the date set by the government for Britain’s exit from the EU. JLR, which is heavily dependent on European supply chains, has been among the most vocal critics of the government’s Brexit strategy and in August, just ahead of a key cabinet summit, he warned at the time that £1.2 billion in profits each year, and £80 billion of further investment was at stake.

‘Hugely important’

“This is getting real now. JLR is hugely important to the UK and particularly to the West Midlands. They must be extremely concerned to issue a warning like this,” said Labour MP Pat McFadden, following last week’s warning.

However, the company has courted criticism from some supporters of a “hard” Brexit. On BBC Radio on Monday morning, ahead of JLR’s latest announcement, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin accused the company of “making it all up” and scaremongering.

Published on September 17, 2018
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