JLR workers moved to three-day week in light of ‘Brexit chaos’

Around 1,000 workers at Jaguar Landrover’s Castle Bromwich plant will move to a three-day week following a review of the company’s production schedules.

Castle Bromwich
The F-type Jaguar

According to JLR, the move at Castle Bromwich – where F-TYPE, XJ, XF and XE models are produced – will ‘ensure market demand is balanced globally’.

“In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some temporary adjustments to our production schedules at Castle Bromwich,” the company said in a statement. “We are, however, continuing to over-proportionally invest in new products and technologies, and committed to our UK plants in which we have invested more than £4bn since 2010 to future-proof manufacturing technologies to deliver new models.”

Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington, Birmingham, used Twitter to say the decision is “a combination of Brexit chaos and the mishandling by ministers of the transition from diesel. Brexit now threatens the jewel in the crown of British manufacturing.”

At last week’s Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham, JLR boss Ralph Speth reiterated the threat a hard Brexit poses to the UK’s largest car maker, which has been described as ‘scaremongering’ by Sir Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP for Harwich and north Essex. Jenkin contests the assertion that Brexit will disrupt just-in-time supply chains.

Reacting to today’s announcement from JLR, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “This is the continuing effect of the chaotic mismanagement of the Brexit negotiations by the government which has created uncertainty across the UK’s automotive industry and the manufacturing sector generally.

“It is also the result of the mishandling of how the UK makes a just transition from diesel and combustion engines to electric vehicles. Both issues have damaged…our automotive industry.

“The situation is not helped when you have arch-Brexiteer MP Sir Bernard Jenkin accusing Ralf Speth of ‘making it up’ when it comes to Brexit and the car industry.

“Jenkins’ comments are highly irresponsible and misinformed when future employment is at stake and are entering into the world of fantasy economics.

“The government’s failure to grasp the needs of the automotive industry were further highlighted when prime minister Theresa May recently unveiled a £106m funding package for the research and development of zero-emission vehicles. This, frankly, is peanuts.”

Earlier in 2018 JLR announced the loss of 1,000 temporary contract workers from its Solihull production facility. Prior to the April, 2018 announcement JLR said it would cut production at its Halewood plant in Merseyside in light of Brexit uncertainty.