News : Halewood redundancy shock

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Alan Weston, Liverpool Echo

Halewood factory sees agency workers released just before Christmas
Halewood factory sees agency workers released just before Christmas

Agency workers at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood car plant today described their shock at being told they were losing their jobs the day before Christmas Eve.

The staff affected were among the extra manpower hired by the company at the start of the year to help with the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque model. JLR announced at the start of the year it was recruiting an extra 1,500 workers to fill positions to support the launch.

One man whose 22-year-old son was taken on by the Manpower employment agency, to work on the new Evoque, said: “My son got a phone call a few hours before his shift started and was told to come to a building at the plant for a meeting with Manpower and not to wear his uniform.

 “When he got there, he was handed a big white envelope and was told staffing numbers had been reviewed and they no longer need this level of staff. No one had any inkling about it until they got phone calls in the morning. He is absolutely gutted about it, especially the timing.”

It is not known exactly how many agency workers were made redundant, but it is believed to be around 50. They were on a notice period of one week. A spokesperson for Jaguar Land Rover said: “At the start of 2011, we committed to creating 1,500 new positions at Halewood to support the launch of the Range Rover Evoque and this commitment is still in place.

“During 2011, we hired a small number over the 1,500 to cover the busy and demanding launch period, which is a standard practice to ensure the successful launch of a new vehicle. We recently reached the end of the launch period and commenced a phased plan to reduce the number of additional agency workers in stages to align with the longer term workforce commitment. Halewood is now operating at full production capacity and we have already started the exciting process of converting significant numbers of agency workers into JLR contracted employees. This process will continue in the New Year.”

[Source: Liverpool Echo]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

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Keith Adams

17 Comments

  1. We hear this about Agency workers all the time. However that is after all what agency workers are for. Short term and temporary contracts.

    Actually it’s how a lot of firms recruit these days, take on agency staff and if they’re any good you can offer them a permanent job. If they’re not so good, then you have no obligation to keep them on.

    Plenty of industries will have just ‘laid off’ agency staff. They simply take on extra temps in the run up to xmas then once xmas is here they’re no longer needed.

  2. Same as what happened at Cowley a couple of years ago, although most of these were workers on the production line. I recall stories of cars being damaged and stuff stolen, and the whole thing was a bit stinking pile of bad publicity for BMW. Haven’t much about this one on the news, mind.

    Now that new legislation will be in place to protect rights for agency workers, we can expect to see a lot more of this. Yes, doing it on Xmas Eve might seem heartless, but agency staff know the risks related to temporary work and shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. Plus, not all agency staff have a problem with this as it sometimes suits the individual to have short-term temporary work as it may fit into their lifestyle better.

  3. Firms like JLR need to be flexible to meet demand. It’s harsh but it’s how you need to operate these days. Have a core of skilled staff then bring on agency workers to fill gaps. Timing is shocking but that’s the way it happens unfortunately. Working for an agency you should know this.

  4. Couldn’t they have just got them all to stand outside branches of Dixons trying to sell the Ewok to disinterested shoppers? It’s what any serious car manufacturer would do*

  5. Joys of working for an agency, and in any trade, you never know if you’ll have work one day to the next. While it’s OK on a long term contract, you still never know when it will come to an end. To quote the guy saying his son was ‘gutted’ about it, I’m afraid that’s what happens working for an agency.

  6. He means the Evoque, David.

    The article above details what is an occupational hazard for agency staff. Poor timing, but that’s just how it is.

  7. just a note, just because the headline says ‘redundancy’ never assume the workers laid off get any money in compensation as agency workers get no benefits like this at all.

  8. @ paul comment 11

    When did morals come into business practice?

    Regardless of that it shouldn’t always be a surprise. The fact that it didn’t hit the news speaks volumes….

  9. “Normal practice or not, its not really morally acceptable to dump this on people the day before Christmas!”

    Doesn’t really matter when you tell someone they’re out of a job. You work for an agency you know you can have your work cancelled at any point. Even with new rules allowing agency workers the same treatment as employed staff after 12 weeks of doing the same job, they can still be laid off at any time, because that’s what agency workers are all about!

    In the past i’ve worked with agency staff, and they were taking home a higher hourly rate than me, the reason for that was they weren’t guaranteed work the following week i was.

    In the same boat though, in 2 weeks time JLR might find they’re rushed off their feet and need to build cars, in which case the same agency staff will likely be getting a call to go back in.

  10. Manpower were still recruiting in October. People with 12 month “assignments” were let go in november.They should have been there until may 2012. Of this group, most had clean records.Some people with only 2 month assignments had poor records , but were kept on. Does this sound like a well run agency. It was a shambles.They couldn’t be bothered moving out the bad, and filling the spaces with the good. Just get rid of excess numbers, regardless of their record. A few lads were let go, because they had more upstairs than the management. Especially in the quality department.

  11. “Some people with only 2 month assignments had poor records , but were kept on. Does this sound like a well run agency.”

    With respect though, that’s nothing to do with the agency. The company decides who they want to keep. If JLR decide someone has a poor record all it takes is a phone call to the agency to say they don’t want them back. These “12 month assignments” are usually advertised as “upto 12 months”, it’s just how agencies work, get over it, it’s not unique to the motor industry.

    Had an agency driver working at my old place last year on an “up to 8 week” assignment, he reversed a van into my car a week after starting, then lied about it. My boss simply phoned his agency and said “we don’t want him back”, last we saw of him. It’s VERY easy to remove the bad workers.

    “Manpower were still recruiting in October.”
    Or to be precise, manpower were recruiting on behalf of JLR. JLR tell Manpower how many people they want and Manpower find them.

  12. Lead story in the business section of todays Telegraph is that JLR are planning to double the size of Halewood by developing surrounding land to meet expansion plans and create 1500 permanent jobs.

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