Alun Thorne, Birmingham Post, 23rd June, 2010
Jaguar Land Rover is facing a ballot for industrial action – as Coventry workers press for a move to Castle Bromwich despite the closure threat to the Birmingham factory. Worried JLR workers at Coventry have balloted for a vote for action after unanimously rejecting a transfer to new owners.
Not one single employee among the 359 at the Browns Lane Veneer Manufacturing Centre has agreed to a move to new employers Lawrence Automotive Interiors, named as preferred bidders for the site. Dozens of workers have indicated they would prefer to stay with JLR and move to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham while many others are understood to favour voluntary redundancy.
A consultative poll held by the union Unite resulted in an 84 per cent vote in favour of balloting for action as fears over workers’ future pay and conditions at Coventry under the new owners increase. The potential dispute has blown up amid concerns from workers at the Coventry factory that pay and conditions would be cut in the long term under the new Nottingham-based owners.
A union source said: “Lawrence Automotive have become the preferred bidders in the sale of the business and have signed a heads of agreement understanding with Jaguar about buying the business. Under the TUPE agreement, point of sale pay and conditions are protected. However, they are not protected for ever.
The majority have indicated that they want to go to Castle Bromwich and some people have indicated that they may want a redundancy package. There has been a consultative ballot, where 84 per cent have voted for a ballot for industrial action if there is not a solution to the problem.” A union source
“The majority have indicated that they want to go to Castle Bromwich and some people have indicated that they may want a redundancy package. There has been a consultative ballot, where 84 per cent have voted for a ballot for industrial action if there is not a solution to the problem.
“No-one is looking for a fight with the company but the union would treat this as seriously as they would the closure of Castle Bromwich. Not one single person has voted to go to Lawrence Automotive because Jaguar terms and conditions are better. Workers believe that at some time in the future Lawrence Automotive will come and attack pay grades.”
A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover described the ballot result as disappointing and premature. “The company is in the early stages of consultation with the trade union and employees and our plans are unchanged,” he said. “The company has emphasised that every employee who wishes to remain with JLR will be able to do so. We will continue with the consultation process in line with TUPE regulations.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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