Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has expressed his concerns about the news that a major employer for his constituency, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), will be cutting thousands of jobs from its UK workforce.
The news that the car manufacturer, which has a 44,000-strong UK workforce, is set to cut around 4,500 jobs was broken this morning (Tuesday January 10).
It comes after the company announced late last year its plans to make £2.5 billion budget cuts.
It is believed most of the job losses will affect JLR’s managerial, research, sales and design staff.
Matt Western MP said: “I am concerned by this news and my thoughts are with the families and communities that would be impacted.
“The company remains strong and has been the bedrock of the manufacturing renaissance in this region, investing £25 billion in the past decade and trebling its workforce in the same period.
“I will be following the developments closely in the coming days and will keep constituents informed.
“Naturally, I will be working closely with JLR management,trade unions, and Parliamentary colleagues over the coming days.
“I would encourage any concerned employees to contact me directly.”
The cuts are in response to the challenges of declining sales in China, the dramatic reduction in the diesel market in the UK and abroad as well as the uncertainty brought about by Brexit.
China is the company’s biggest and most profitable market.
But sales there have fallen significantly in recent months.
The relationship between JLR and its Chinese sales network have also been strained as dealers demand better terms and promotional incentives.
JLR has said: “JLR is expanding a business-wide organisation review aimed at reducing the size of its ‘global’ workforce by around 4,500 people.
“This is in addition to the 1,500 who left the company during 2018.
“The next phase of this transformation programme will begin with a voluntary redundancy programme in the UK.
“This strategic review will create a leaner, more resilient organisation with a flatter management structure.”
JLR’s chief executive Ralph Speth added: “We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.
“The ‘charge and accelerate’ programme combines efficiency measures with targeted investment, safeguarding our future and ensuring that we maximise the opportunities created by growing demand for autonomous, connected, electric and shared technologies.”
Mr Western has consistently been campaigning in Parliament for some certainty and Government support for JLR and the automotive industry during a challenging period for the sector.
The entire industry had a difficult year in 2018 - car sales fell by almost seven per cent compared to the previous year, dropping to a five-year low and almost at the same level as in 2007.
Last March, Mr Western hosted a Parliamentary debate on the future of the automotive industry – raising falling diesel sales, falling consumer confidence and Brexit concerns.
He also coordinated a cross-party letter from MPs to the Chancellor of the Exchequer leading up to last year’s Budget, asking to reconsider changes to diesel taxation which is one of the leading reasons why diesel sales have plummeted.
Mr Western has also been outspoken about the need to remain in a custom union as part of the Brexit process to protect jobs at JLR and other manufacturers, and to put to bed the continued uncertainty around Brexit.
Meanwhile, Jaguar has been adding to its workforce elsewhere in the world.
In China it has hired 4,000 workers since 2014.
It is also moving production of the Land Rover Discovery to Slovakia with plans to hire up to 3,000 workers.
Unions are keen to examine whether JLR’s international plants will continue to see additional investment at the expense of the UK.
For JLR’s full statement click here.