Jaguar Land Rover set to move staff to three-day week

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that more than 3,000 staff will move to a three-day week at its Castle Bromwich plant in the West Midlands.

The news came hours after the carmaker was accused of “scaremongering”about the impact of Brexit by a Conservative MP. JLR, owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata, said it had made the decision to reduce production in the light of difficult conditions in the automotive industry.

A spokesperson said: “In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some temporary adjustments to our production schedules at Castle Bromwich.

“We are, however, continuing to overproportionally invest in new products and technologies, and are committed to our UK plants in which we have invested more than £4bn since 2010 to future-proof manufacturing technologies to deliver new models.”

The chief executive, Ralf Speth, has previously cited uncertainty over Brexit and confusion over government policy on diesel engines as factors limiting JLR’s prospects, after it cut 1,000 jobs at its Solihull plant in April.

He also warned last week that tens of thousands of jobs in the automotive sector would be put at risk if the UK crashes out of the EU without agreeing an exit deal with Brussels. The company, which employs 40,000 people in the UK, has previously warned that it would have to reconsider £80bn of UK investment over five years in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

On Monday morning, hours before JLR revealed its plan to move to a three-day working week at Castle Bromwich, pro-Brexit Tory MP Bernard Jenkin accused Speth of “scaremongering” and “making it up”.

Labour MP Jack Dromey, whose Erdington constituency includes the plant, said: “Brexit now threatens the jewel in the crown of British manufacturing excellence. Ministers must get it right or the future is bleak.

“This morning, a wide-eyed Brexiter, Bernard Jenkins MP, in his ideological zeal, accused Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth of ‘making it up’.

“Now we know fears are justified. A hard Brexit or no deal will be catastrophic for Britain’s automotive industry.”