Up to 1,800 production jobs are under threat at Jaguar Land Rover if workers do not agree to a pay freeze and a major new round of cutbacks.
Workers at the crisis-hit group have been told that shifts will have to be cut further and pay frozen to help the Tata-owned group ride out the worst sales environment for decades.
Unions have been presented with a new range of cutbacks – including a further 500 voluntary redundancies – in a bid to stave off the threat of further major job losses at both Solihull and Castle Bromwich.
But if they cannot reach agreement, it is understood that up to 1,800 jobs could face the axe across Jaguar Land Rover in what would be the single biggest wave of job losses to hit the vehicle manufacturer during the current downturn.
Both management and unions have declined to discuss the detail of the proposed cutbacks after an agreed statement was issued which confirmed that further savings were being sought.
But a Land Rover worker, who asked not to be identified, said: “There have been a series of briefings from shop stewards and they have told us what the current situation is.
“We have been asked to go on a four-day week, we will only get 10 per cent of any shift pay, we will have no holiday bonus, there will be no pay rise in November and there will be 500 additional voluntary redundancies.
“If that is not accepted, there will be 1,800 redundancies across JLR.”
It is understood that unions have agreed to canvass the workforce over the next two weeks before any agreement is reached on the latest pay and conditions cutbacks.
Unions and management say the talks remain confidential and neither party will be adding to the joint statement issued following Thursday’s emergency talks.
The statement said: “The company and the unions met for an update on the business and to discuss the urgent need to reduce costs in the light of the credit crunch and the significant drop in sales.
“The company and the unions have agreed to work jointly to seek alternative ways to reduce costs and avoid the need for any further redundancies.”
JLR has already announced up to 1,900 job losses over the last few months, including 600 voluntary job losses last autumn, 450 management and agency positions this week and 850 agency staff in the run-up to Christmas.
Jaguar has also confirmed that production lines at Castle Bromwich will remain shut down for a further two weeks from Monday following a prolonged three-week festive break.
The latest worrying news will increase pressure on the Government to support JLR with an immediate loan.
Meanwhile, production is due to resume at JLR’s two other assembly plants at Lode Lane, Solihull and Halewood on Monday following the Christmas and New Year period.