Birmingham & Black Country

JLR workers 'tense' after 4,500 job cuts announced

JLR plant in Solihull Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption JLR will first invite voluntary redundancies and early retirements to cut 4,500 jobs

The atmosphere at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is said to be "very tense" following the announcement that 4,500 jobs will be cut.

Staff were informed that the firm, which employs 40,000 people in the UK, needed to cut costs.

The firm is facing reduced sales in China and a slump in demand for diesel cars while executives have also complained about uncertainty caused by Brexit.

An engineer, who wished to remain anonymous but is based at the Whitley plant near Coventry, said he was "unsure" whether his job was safe and communications from management had been "cryptic".

"It's not clear what's going on," he said.

JLR has said most of the roles lost will be office-based as it seeks to simplify its management structure.

"I've got a young child, so I could really do with not losing my job right now," the worker said.

He began working for JLR two years ago after moving to Coventry and said he fears a "last in, first out" policy.

"I'm fighting for my job," he said. "It's not worth the risk for me to take voluntary redundancy.

"A lot of people are wanting to stay here long term. It's very tense."

Image caption John Nollett fears the cuts could have a major effect on businesses in the West Midlands

It's not just workers who are concerned. Suppliers to JLR are also concerned about the firm's "uncertain" future.

"If they're cutting down on important jobs like the design functions and things like that, where is the future of the business going," said John Nollett, managing director of metal supplier Pressmark Pressings, in Atherstone, Warwickshire.

"It's difficult to predict but it could have a major effect throughout the whole of the industry and it's disappointing that it's focussed here in the West Midlands."

Employee Debra Hammond, who also works at Pressmark, said the cuts were going to have a "knock-on effect".

"If they're going to cut down on the work, then we're going to lose work. So the future doesn't look that great at the moment for any of us."

Image caption Debra Hammond said the future "doesn't look great" for suppliers

Others were more optimistic.

A caller to BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, Michelle, whose husband Steve has worked at the Whitley plant for 36 years, said they had seen job cuts in the past but the firm had recovered.

"We've been through this a number of times," she said. "This comes and goes every five to 10 years so we're quite used to it now."

"You get it with any big company, they take on when they're being successful and you know it's not going to last forever."

"We're not worried. I don't think a firm like that will go under, it's just one of those things."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The job cuts will mostly affect office roles rather than workers on the factory floor

There was also optimism outside the i54 plant near Wolverhampton as workers started their shifts.

JLR has said it plans to invest in more electric engine technology at the plant.

One contractor, who preferred not to be named, told the BBC: "I think it's going to be alright.

"I don't think it'll affect me," he said. "I think that most of us won't have anything to worry about, fingers crossed."

West Midlands Metropolitan Mayor Andy Street also expressed optimism, saying on Twitter he was "confident JLR will be a critical part of our region's future success".

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