More than 2,000 staff working on a DHL logistics contract with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) could lose their jobs.
Two in five of the entire workforce employed by DHL on the JLR contract, around 2,200 staff, face redundancy, according to the Unite union.
The proposed redundancies will affect JLR’s major factories in the North West and the West Midlands including Castle Bromwich, Ellesmere Port, Halewood, Hams Hall, Midpoint, Solihull and Tyrefort.
Unite said DHL had not given a firm date about when the redundancy process would be completed but had indicated that half of the job losses were a result of a decline in car production and half as a result of anticipated “efficiency savings”.
A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain said the proposal was based solely on the commercial challenges affecting the global automotive sector, and did not reflect on the service levels delivered on the contract.
“In light of highly challenging trading conditions in the global automotive sector and the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our linefeed and freight operations supporting the Jaguar Land Rover contract. This is in line with future volume forecasts and forms part of the optimisation and efficiency initiatives that have been driven by both organisations in recent months.
“We are now in consultation with our employees and their representatives and will make every effort to redeploy as many colleagues as possible to our other operations nationwide.”
Unite national officer for logistics Matt Draper said the move was a “massive bitter blow for a dedicated workforce”, and showed the urgent need for jobs-saving action from the government.
“Again, while governments in Spain, France and Germany are acting swiftly to secure a future for their car manufacturers, we see no such ambition from the UK government and as a result jobs are going,” he said.
“While DHL is the employer, the reality is that the workers perform their roles for JLR,” said Draper, adding that JLR had a “moral duty” to ensure workers were treated fairly.
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson said: “DHL informed us that they were going into consultation with some of their workforce last month.
“Through its ongoing transformation programme and against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance and achieve further operational efficiencies to enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of our business.”
In his summer statement chancellor Rishi Sunak announced firms would be paid a bonus of £1,000 for every member of staff kept on for three months once the furlough scheme ends in October.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: “The job retention bonus will help firms protect jobs. But with nearly 70% of firms running low on cash, and three in four reporting lack of demand, more immediate direct support for firms, from grants to further business rates relief, is still urgently needed.”
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