UNITE, the Union has demanded an urgent meeting with senior executives from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) owner Tata to seek assurances over the future of JLR’s five UK plants, including its Halewood site.
The call follows the announcement this week that JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth signed a letter of intent paving the way for an automotive partnership in Saudi Arabia.
The letter follows recent manufacturing plans to expand JLR in other countries, including China.
It outlines proposals to explore the possibility of setting up a manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia and Unite general secretary, Liverpool-born Len McCluskey, said today: “I have personally asked for an urgent meeting with Tata's chairman and vice-chairman where I expect assurances over the future of Jaguar Land Rover’s UK plants.
“Three years ago Unite was delighted to back Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover against fierce opposition.
“At that time we received assurances that the quintessentially British branded products would always be designed, manufactured and built in Britain.
“We also received guarantees that the future of Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Solihull and the two design studios would be secure for the long term.
“In the light of recent announcements, the assurances we received must be reaffirmed in detail, in order to remove the concerns that our members at the UK plants may have.”
He added: “The skills, expertise and dedication of the British workforce have put Jaguar Land Rover back into serious profit and on the map as a top luxury car maker.
“They deserve recognition for the past and certainty for the future. Under my leadership I intend to ensure the workers at Jaguar Land Rover get that recognition and certainty.”
Halewood employs 4,500 staff working 24-hour shifts over five days making the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander 2 models.
A JLR spokesman said: "Jaguar Land Rover remains committed to the United Kingdom and any future overseas facilities are in addition to its operations based in the United Kingdom.
"In recent years, Jaguar Land Rover has made a significant investment in both its products and plants in the United Kingdom, including £370m on the manufacturing facilities for the all-new Range Rover.
"Jaguar Land Rover is investing £355m in a new engine manufacturing facility near Wolverhampton and has created in the region of 8,000 new jobs in the UK in the last two years."