Graeme Brown, Birmingham Post, 30th July, 2010
Dozens of Jaguar workers are enjoying a six-week summer holiday – because the luxury car maker has been too successful. The Big Cat has turned its sales performance round so dramatically in the first half of 2010 that some parts suppliers to the XF and XJ models are struggling to keep up with demand.
Workers on the lines at the Castle Bromwich factory have now agreed to take an extra four weeks holiday at 80 per cent pay rates to balance supply with demand. The sabbaticals were offered to XF and XJ workers at the Birmingham factory – and 52 employees took advantage to enjoy a six-week summer break, including the normal two-week shutdown.
A worker, who asked not to be named, said: ‘People have got an additional four weeks on top of the annual shutdown, with 80 per cent pay. They were looking for around 160 but they got 52. It’s all to do with supply and demand – they can’t get some components quick enough.”
A statement from Jaguar Land Rover’s Head of Media Relations, Jonathan Griffiths, said: ‘Both Jaguar and Land Rover are experiencing heavy demand for new vehicles with sales for the first six months of the year up 25 per cent collectively versus the same period in 2009. Balancing variations in supply to meet current and future demand is part of our everyday operational practice. Clearly the fact that demand for our vehicles is high is good news for Jaguar Land Rover and we are in discussions with a number of suppliers about increasing the volume of components that they supply to us.”
Both Jaguar and Land Rover are experiencing heavy demand for new vehicles with sales for the first six months of the year up 25 per cent collectively versus the same period in 2009… Clearly the fact that demand for our vehicles is high is good news for Jaguar Land Rover and we are in discussions with a number of suppliers about increasing the volume of components that they supply to us.” Jonathan Griffiths, Head of Media Relations, Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar recently revealed a huge 42.5 per cent surge in UK sales for the first half of 2010, with sales of the XF up by 47.6 per cent, outselling the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. In June the new XJ outsold its main rivals in its first full month of sales, beating the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The sales surge at both Jaguar and Land Rover contrasts sharply with the depths of the recession in the first six months of 2009, which led to a cutback in production of 100,000 units over the period.
Unions agreed a one-year pay freeze and a four-day week for thousands of workers in return for no compulsory job losses for two years. The pay and reduced working week concessions formed the key planks of a crucial framework agreement between Unite union leaders and JLR management in a bid to save around £70 million in costs.
In September JLR announced plans to close either Land Rover at Solihull or Jaguar at Castle Bromwich, but no official announcement has yet been made. Unions poured scorn on claims by the company that the closure would not cause job losses. However, JLR’s fortunes have been transformed in the first half of 2010, with increasing demand for vehicles causing a shortfall in some component supplies.
JLR’s Jonathan Griffiths added: ‘This is about balancing the variation in supply and demand. At the moment, we have a shortfall in supply to meet the demand.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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