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Hundreds of Wolverhampton JLR workers to be sent home as i54 production slowed down

By Simon Penfold | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

The news was confirmed as Jaguar Land Rover announced 200 more jobs are going at its Solihull factory.

500 workers at the Jaguar Land Rover engine factory in Wolverhampton are being sent home for a fortnight in the run-up to Christmas

Jaguar Land Rover is sending hundreds of its Wolverhampton workers home for two weeks in the run-up to Christmas, the company has revealed.

JLR said 500 staff would be sent home each week on full pay as production is slowed down ‘temporarily’. At the same time 200 more jobs are going at the Solihull factory.

It comes in the wake of falling sales around the world, which has seen the company cut back on car production at its UK sites.

This has now filtered down to hit the engine production plant on the i54 site, which makes two-litre diesel and petrol engines for most of the company’s models.

An aerial view of the i54 plant next to the M54 in Wolverhampton

Around 1,600 people work at the vast 2 million sq ft factory, but JLR says only 500 at any one time will be sent home on full pay over the two weeks between December 7 and December 21.

That implies that 500 may be sent home one week and another 500 the week after, rather than the same workers being off for the entire fortnight.

After that, all JLR’s UK sites will be on an annual fortnight long Christmas shutdown, returning to work around January 2.

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'Tough decisions'

In a statement today a Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson said: “In response to adjustments in vehicle production schedules, the EMC will take a temporary pause in production in its machine and assembly halls.

“Maintenance and salaried staff will continue as normal and those impacted continue to receive full pay for this period.

The i54 site has made engines for JLR vehicles since 2015

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“Approximately 500 of the 1,600 strong workforce may be impacted at anyone time throughout the two weeks.

“The external environment remains challenging and the company is taking decisive actions to achieve the necessary operational efficiencies to safeguard long-term success.

“To deliver a growing range of electrified cars for our customers we are making tough decisions, but the transformation of the business relies on this.”

Across the region

Elsewhere in the West Midlands another 200 jobs agency jobs are going at JLR’s giant Solihull factory after production of the iconic Discovery switched to a new plant in Slovakia this summer.

The company, which has been particularly it by a slump in sales in its key Chinese markets, has already introduced production cutbacks at the Castle Bromwich Jaguar plant and at Solihull. And 1,000 agency jobs were axed in April.

Castle Bromwich has seen staff on a three-day week in the run-up to Christmas while at Solihull, where 9,000 work, car making was suspended for a fortnight in October.

Around 1,600 people work for JLR in Wolverhampton

Earlier this year JLR laid off 1,000 agency workers in the West Midlands as it slowed production to try and match falling demand.

Although most of the 200 to go in the current round will be agency workers JLR has opened up a voluntary redundancy scheme to full time staff.

JLR said: “Today, we have confirmed that Solihull will make some changes to its production schedule to reflect fluctuating demand globally and forthcoming infrastructure works resulting from the cessation of Discovery which will move, as already confirmed, to Slovakia early in the new year. Customer orders will not be impacted by any of these changes.”

'Safeguarding jobs'

The UK’s biggest union, Unite said it would be pressing Jaguar Land Rover to safeguard as many jobs at its Solihull plant .

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Unite’s priority during this planned transition in production and changes to shifts is to safeguard as many jobs as possible.

“In the long-term the move of Discovery production to Slovakia will bring on stream new models at Solihull and secure the future of the plant for years to come.

"This investment in new models is a long-term commitment that recognises the skills of a workforce that has worked hard to make Jaguar Land Rover a global success story.

“In the short-term however, Jaguar Land Rover workers and many in the supply chain will have questions about what the transition to the new production and shift changes means for their jobs. Unite will be giving our members maximum support through this time.

“Unite will continue to work with Jaguar Land Rover and companies in the supply chain to ensure that the transition in production is as painless as possible and that measures to mitigate against job losses are in place to ensure jobs and skills are retained for the future.”

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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