The boss of Jaguar Land Rover’s Indian parent company says it is ‘making alternative arrangements’ as a strike threat looms at its key supplier, DHL.
Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Motors, said JLR was in talks with the logistics company after a 30-minute walk-out was announced for Wednesday.
Around 1,800 DHL staff who deliver parts to the carmaker’s production lines at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood in Merseyside are due to take part in the strike.
JLR has urged both sides to resolve the dispute before it hurts the car company’s UK production and investment plans.
In his first address to Tata Motors’ shareholders, in Mumbai, Mr Mistry – who recently took over from long-time boss Ratan Tata – said alternative arrangements were being made to avoid any production loss at JLR.
He told investors: “The matter is between the union and DHL.
“JLR is in discussion with DHL but at this point in time, we are looking at making alternative arrangements.”
Union representatives have requested a 12.8 per cent rise over two years for employees who sort parts and 20.6 per cent for drivers, but DHL has offered a 4.5 per cent pay increase for 2013 and a guaranteed three per cent for next year.
Meanwhile Tata is facing problems with its Indian car business.
The group is increasingly having to depend on its highly-profitable Jaguar Land Rover operations because of poor sales and economic woes in India.
And the company has announced a makeover for the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano.
Launched in 2009 with a price tag of just 100,000 rupees, or £1,400, the car has been hit by its ‘cheap’ image and sales have been disappointing.
Tata believed the Nano would appeal to Indian families looking to buy their first car.
However, it is now being relaunched as a smart city car with power steering, an improved interior and exterior, more colours and better fuel efficiency.
Mr Mistry added: “We are now focusing on increasing the features and the perceived value of the Nano with every subsequent model launch.”