Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Jaguar Land Rover cuts 450 staff

Land Rovers at Halewood assembly plant
The firm blamed "a severe reduction in demand" for the cuts

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is cutting 450 staff.

Three hundred managers will be made redundant while 150 salaried agency staff will also lose their jobs.

The firm, which was bought by Tata from Ford for 1.7bn last year, said the action was to combat the credit crunch and a "severe reduction in demand".

Based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, it employs about 15,000 people in Castle Bromwich, Coventry and Solihull in the West Midlands and Halewood, Merseyside.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman said the government was "disappointed".

No bonuses

He added: "Jaguar Land Rover's decision today reflects the continued downturn in the market and that is a reflection of what is happening more generally in the global economy."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson confirmed the government was looking into a possible rescue package for the car industry.

It is critical that Jaguar Land Rover becomes a more efficient and dynamic organisation
David Smith, chief executive, Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover chief executive David Smith said he did not expect sales to return to normal levels "for some time".

He said the firm needed to become more efficient so it could invest in new models and technology when the market improved.

He added: "It is only right and proper that our response to the unavoidable impact of the credit crunch and a severe reduction in demand includes actions across all grades and functions in the company.

"It is critical that Jaguar Land Rover becomes a more efficient and dynamic organisation to face up to the challenges that we will meet in the years ahead."

The company said managers would not receive any bonuses in 2009 and management pay increases had been deferred until 1 October "at the earliest".

'Great fear'

It said it had begun consulting with unions on the proposed redundancy programme.

Derek Simpson, from the union Unite, said: "One hopes it's not the tip of the iceberg and that we don't see a constant drip of job losses.

"Of course the great fear in everyone's mind, particularly with the state of the car industry, is that we see any major closure."

Jaguars are made at Halewood and Castle Bromwich while Land Rovers are produced at Halewood and Solihull.

A wood veneer plant at Coventry supplies both marques while the company has two research and development centres in Coventry and Gaydon. Managers are spread across all the sites.

Last November, the firm axed 850 agency IT and engineering staff and said it was in talks with the government over a possible bail out.

Tata has also said it will inject tens of millions of pounds into the company.

The annual Christmas break was extended last year due to the fall in demand.

Land Rover sales were down by 30% throughout 2008 although Jaguar's sales rose by almost 9% over the same period, which the company put down to its new XF model launched last year.


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