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4,500 car jobs cut

Gridlocked: JLR vehicles
at its site in Knowsley,
Merseyside PICTURE: PA

CAR giant Jaguar Land Rover has revealed plans to shed 4,500 jobs, with most expected to be cut in Britain.

The car maker, which employs 44,000 staff at three sites in the UK, has faced slowing demand in China and ‘continuing uncertainty related to Brexit’.

JLR said savings and ‘cashflow improvements’ would be made over the next 18 months with a voluntary programme of redundancies likely. It follows 1,500 workers who left the company, owned by India’s Tata, last year.

Committed: JLR has 40,000 UK workers

The company reported a £90million pre-tax loss in the three months to September 30, which followed a £385million profit in the same period in 2017.

Chief executive Ralf Speth said: ‘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.’

JLR’s news came as Ford signalled ‘significant’ cuts among its 50,000-strong European workforce under plans to be more competitive and make its business more sustainable.

It started consultations with unions, with details of job cuts not expected until later in the year, although staff based at Warley in Essex will move to Dunton.

Ford’s European group vice president Steven Armstrong said the ‘complete review’ was not directly linked to Brexit, but he added that Ford would have to undertake a further review if the UK left the EU without a deal in March.

Meanwhile, Honda also confirmed it was planning to shut its Swindon factory for six days in April to recover production ‘following any delays at borders on parts’ after Brexit. Unite national officer Des Quinn said the union would scrutinise the business case for JLR’s job cuts but expected ‘the immediate impact on Ford’s UK operations to be limited’.

‘Britain’s car workers have been caught in the crosshairs of the government’s botched handling of Brexit, mounting economic uncertainty and ministers’ demonisation of diesel, which, along with the threat of a no-deal Brexit, is damaging consumer confidence,’ he added.

Business secretary Greg Clark said JLR’s announcement was ‘a commercial decision’ but its owners ‘have made clear they remain firmly committed to the UK’.

Asked if difficulties surrounding Brexit were in part to blame, No.10 said: ‘The chief executive has said the action was in response to multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technological challenges facing the industry.’