Global crisis hit Tata's JLR; cuts 200 jobs

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London, Oct 17 (UNI) Tata-owned Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) has downsized 200 jobs following the recession and shrinking car sales due to the global financial crisis.

The company said the move to cut 200 jobs was an efficiency drive rather than a response to the poor car market.

Although, Jaguar has experienced a slight sales bounce with its new XF model, the Land Rover division has suffered a significant slide in sales. Last month, sales fell 49 per cent compared with September last year.

The cutting of 200 jobs from its workforce of 16,000 in the Jaguar and Land Rover units is not even a full drop in the ocean of the unemployed.

Over two million are already jobless in the country and the number is predicted to climb to three million. The car makers are cutting jobs with car sales dropping rapidly.

In fact, concerns about the European car industry prompted President Sarkozy of France to ask the European Union to consider a US-style cash injection for carmakers after appeals from the industry for 31 billion pound. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, also said that he supported the initiative.

Jaguar Land Rover's factories are working only four days a week or are facing production cuts. This month the Halewood plant on Merseyside, which makes the X-type Jaguar and the Land Rover Freelander, will not operate for a week. The Vauxhall plant near by at Ellesmere Port is closed to reduce output.

Dave Osborne, national secretary of Unite union, for the automotive sector said, ''Clearly the company is responding to the changes in the market. There is a global downturn and part of the company's strategy to weather this is to cut costs through voluntary redundancies.'' Britain's biggest union also called on Ministers to support a bailout and provide cash for manufacturing.

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, said, ''The British Government has led Europe on a financial fire-fighting strategy but it is time for us to follow France and Italy in acting to stop the crisis sweeping away our remaining industrial base. If there is aid at the EU level to support manufacturing, then our Government should be fighting to ensure British manufacturing gets its fair slice of it.'' UNI XC SBA HS1921

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