JAGUAR LANDROVER has plunged to a £500m loss in the first three months of this year. The Unite trade union has described the announcement that 1,100 agency workers at JLR’s factories will lose their jobs as ‘more devastating news for the UK’s automotive communities’.
It is understood that there will be around 400 job losses at JLR’s plant at Solihull with the remaining job losses spread over the company’s other sites in the West Midlands and Merseyside.
Unite had successfully ensured that the affected workers were furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic. It is expected that the workers will leave JLR at the time of the summer shutdown.
Unite national officer Des Quinn said: ‘This is a painful blow for a loyal workforce. Given the unprecedented drop in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was all but inevitable that job losses would be announced.
‘It is another devastating blow for our auto sector and the communities that rely on them for jobs. We urge the government to get on with delivering the urgently needed sector support package, as other countries such as France and Germany have done, so that we can stem the tide of redundancies.’
Unite’s position is that it is the Tory government that must save workers’ jobs not Unite’s. It has declared that ‘Unite will ensure that the affected workers are fully represented and assisted during this difficult and stressful period. If workers are made redundant, then Unite will ensure they receive everything they are legally entitled to.’ Unite is going to do nothing to defend these jobs and limits itself to seeing the sacked workers on their way out of the industry.
Unite has also described the announcement that car components company Sertec is intending to make extensive redundancies as a ‘fresh blow’ to the region’s automotive sector and a ‘premature decision’.
The company, which produces car components for JLR, Nissan and Toyota, has announced that it is intending to make 428 redundancies from its 1,300 employees. The majority of the workforce is currently furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme (JRS).
The redundancies will occur at its factories in Coleshill, Hams Hall, Redditch, Tyserly, Witton and Aston. Again, Unite is not taking any action. Ludicrously, they claim it is the government’s job to secure workers’ livelihoods, not the union’s.
Unite on June 5th described the announcement that Bentley is seeking to make 1,000 workers redundant as another ‘heavy blow’ and is consoling itself that the redundancies of 25% of the workforce will be voluntary. A day earlier on June 4th, Unite urged Aston Martin to reconsider the scale and number of the proposed 500 job losses at its luxury sports car plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Unite regional officer Tim Parker pleaded: ‘We urge the company to reconsider the scale and number of the redundancies during the 45-day consultation period as the UK economy will need their highly-prized skills once the pandemic recedes.’
BA meanwhile plans to sack 12,000 Unite members and re-employ 30,000 members on new terms and conditions of service as furloughing draws to a close.
Unite has applauded the publication of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the aviation sector’s reaction to the Covid-19 crisis and concluded that ‘The damning report concludes that the airline’s current consultation on staffing changes “is a calculated attempt to take advantage of the pandemic to cut jobs and weaken the terms and conditions of its remaining employees”.’
The parliamentary committee condemns BA’s behaviour, and that of its parent company IAG, towards its employees as ‘a national disgrace’. And still Unite’s leaders fail to take action. It is still demanding that the Tory government defend its members’ jobs, while it looks on, showing sympathy for BA, saying: ‘BA’s board is in a terrible hole but it is entirely of their own making; my advice would be, stop digging. Work with us on a way back while there is still a sliver of possibility for discussion. I repeat, my phone is always on, and my door is always open.’
To defend their jobs, Unite members must boot out their current leaders and bring in a leadership prepared to organise occupations and a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government. This will nationalise BA and bring in a socialist planned economy that will defend every job and rebuild the UK’s economy.