Monday, January 25, 2010

JLR mgmt, unions disagree on terms of new hires

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London January 26, 2010

Six days of meetings over two weeks between Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and its workers’ union ended without agreement on terms of employment for new hires.

A JLR spokesperson said, “Jaguar Land Rover regretfully confirms that these discussions have come to an end without agreement being reached.”

“We don’t discuss the content of private meetings, although we do keep our employees informed,” the spokesperson added.

The meetings between the union (Unite) and JLR’s management followed the new business plan announced by the company in September, under which the company it said it was planning to invest £800 million in new technology and also rationalise some its production centres in the UK’s midlands.

The company had also promised that the rationalisation of production would not result in any compulsory job losses and, in fact, would only add 800 jobs by mid-2010.

The latest discussion was around the terms and conditions that would bind new recruits in the company, over which the parties disagreed.

“In September 2009, Jaguar Land Rover announced a new business plan designed to significantly increase global competitiveness, drive growth and sustained profitability, and respond to the challenges of climate change. The discussions with trade unions representatives have focused on changes to terms and conditions for future new hires to the company to better align with the requirements of the business plan,” JLR said.

Under the new business plan production of the new Range Rover will start by 2011, the preparation for which will commence by the middle of next year. Apart from the new Range Rover, the company also proposes to develop a new lightweight sedan, sports cars and sports utility vehicles and “electrification technology” (to produce hybrid cars).

CEO Smith quits JLR

The Tata Motors-owned JLR confirmed on Monday that CEO David Smith, 49, had stepped down from his post with immediate effect. The company would soon announce his replacement. Smith was made CEO of JLR in June, 2008, after Tata Motors completed the take over of JLR.

“The company would like to thank David for his efforts in the role and for his service over many years,” JLR said in a statement. The company did not provide any specific reason for Smith’s sudden departure.

Tata Motors Vice-Chairman and former managing director Ravi Kant, who is also a director of JLR, will assist with the handover of Smith’s duties and assume day-to-day responsibilities of the CEO until a permanent successor is announced. Smith had joined Ford Motor Company (the previous owner of JLR) in 1983 and had held numerous strategy and finance positions.

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