Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Jaguar staff opt for shorter week

Jaguar and Land Rover logos
Jaguar Land Rover cut 450 jobs earlier this year

Jaguar Land Rover workers have decided to take a one-year pay freeze and move to a four-day week in an attempt to save jobs.

Workers' unions balloted the firm's 15,000 staff over the cost-saving measures.

A total of 70% of the Unite and GMB union members accepted the deal which will save the firm 70m a year.

The car manufacturer offered the deal last month in return for no compulsory job losses for two years.

Based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, Jaguar Land Rover employs about 15,000 people at its sites in Castle Bromwich, Coventry and Solihull in the West Midlands and Halewood, Merseyside.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by Indian firm Tata, cut 450 jobs in January.

Our members in JLR deserve better - much better
Joint unions statement

The agreement includes a pay freeze until 2010 and a four-day week at the plants.

However, the firm has promised that in return there will be no compulsory redundancies in the non-management workforce in the UK over the next two years.

There will also be no bonus payments for 2,400 employees, which had been planned for this year.

The company said a training programme which had been related to non-work issues will also be suspended and fewer agency staff would be taken on in the future.

A joint statement by Unite and the GMB said they did not want their members at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to "face the same fate as thousands of others".

'Loyal workforce'

It said: "Our members in JLR deserve better - much better.

"The management agreed with our view that, when this unprecedented recession ends, the retention of a skilled and loyal workforce is an integral part to the ongoing success of this business."

Jaguar Land Rover chief executive David Smith said he was pleased the company and the unions had been able to work together on "such sensitive issues".

He added: "It also confirms our determination as a team to steer Jaguar Land Rover through these extraordinary and challenging times, so that our business is ready to take advantage when the downturn finally ends."

The ballot result came as figures of new car sales were released.

Overall in February, new car sales in the UK fell by 22%.

However, Jaguar sold 360 new vehicles last month - more than double the figure it sold in February last year.

Land Rover, though, saw its sales last month go down 21% compared to February last year.

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