Short-term pain: JLR staff accept one-year pay freeze
WORKERS at British-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover have agreed to accept a shorter working week and a one-year pay freeze to avoid compulsory job cuts, unions said Thursday. Members of Unite and the GMB unions voted 70 per cent to 30 per cent in favour of the deal on the advice of union officials. Jaguar and Land Rover, iconic luxury British brands which were bought by Indian group Tata Motors from Ford for $2.3bn (£1.6bn) last year, have suffered slumping demand in the global downturn. The compromise to move to a four-day week was worked out between union leaders and the company, which has slashed around 1,800 permanent and agency staff in recent months. A statement from Unite after the ballot said: “The choice for our members was clear - further mass redundancies or what is undoubtedly some short-term pain in order to secure the future for our members and their families.” Jaguar Land Rover chief executive David Smith praised the unions for working “constructively” with the company during “these extraordinary and challenging times.” The deal is designed to save £70m ($98m) at production sites in Castle Bromwich and Solihull in central England and Halewood in Liverpool, northwest England. Britain’s auto industry has been hammered by the international economic downturn, with Japanese car giant Nissan axing 1,200 jobs at its main British site in January owing to a sales slump. Nissan’s Japanese competitor Honda has closed its British factory for four months until June 1 because of the worldwide fall in sales.
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