Task force set up for Jaguar Land Rover workers as job cuts confirmed
A Midlands-wide Jaguar Land Rover task force has been set up to help workers affected by job losses at the struggling firm.
JLR confirmed it was cutting 4,500 jobs from its 40,000 strong UK workforce as part of a £2.5 billion cost-cutting plan, which bosses have attributed to a downturn in the Chinese market, a drop in diesel sales and concerns over Brexit.
It comes as new figures revealed the company saw sales drop 4.6 per cent last year to 592,708 vehicles worldwide, with a fall of 6.4 per cent in December.
But despite the bleak outlook JLR moved to commit to long-term investment in the region, announcing that its next generation of drive units for electric vehicles will be built at Wolverhampton’s i54 site.
The plant – which the E&S understands is still likely to see jobs go – makes diesel and petrol engines for most JLR models.
It comes after the firm, which also has sites in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Coventry, cut 1,500 jobs last year.
A voluntary redundancy programme is planned for its latest round of departures.
The task force to support staff will meet on Monday.
It will be headed by Business Secretary Greg Clark and involve JLR bosses, council leaders, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and MPs.
Wolverhampton Council leader Roger Lawrence said: “JLR workers come from across the entire region. The plan we are putting in place must reflect that.
“This is too big an issue to just focus on individual areas.
"We don’t yet know the full impact that the announcement will have on the Wolverhampton plant, but the job cuts can’t all be to do with streamlining management and there is concern that shop floor staff will also be affected.”
- MORE: JLR job cuts confirmed but electric units to be built at i54
- MORE: JLR sales fell worldwide in 2018
- MORE: See behind-the-scenes at the i54 engine factory
Mr Street said he was confident JLR would “remain a critical part of our region’s future success.”
Wolverhampton South East Labour MP Pat McFadden said the redundancy plans were “very troubling”, while JLR chief executive Ralf Speth said the firm was “taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth”.
Mr Clark said: “Jaguar Land Rover is a much valued British company with a talented and dedicated workforce.
"The Government has, and will continue, to work closely with the business to ensure that it can succeed long into the future as it invests and transitions to autonomous, connected and electric vehicles."