Unions have slammed the “Gateway Process” to decide which of JLR’s Castle Bromwich or Solihull plants is to close as a “beauty contest” – as the clock ticks towards a midsummer announcement.
Unite officials who remain opposed to the closure plan have shunned internal discussions on the merits of the Jaguar and Land Rover plants which will decide which factory will go.
But the Tata-owned group says the timetable is on course for an announcement by the middle of the year, with thousands of workers awaiting the fate of Solihull or Castle Bromwich.
Des Quinn, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “The Gateway Process gives the plants the opportunity to say what they can offer – they told us what the criteria were and it is everything from volumes to willingness to change.
“We said we would not be party to that; there are no plans to get involved in what we’ve described as a beauty contest. We are not accepting any plant closure.”
The continuing opposition from unions follow the breakdown of talks with Jaguar Land Rover management in January after unions rejected plans to cut salary rates for new starters and shake up pensions.
Talks broke down after six days of discussions, with unions rejecting management offers of £1,000 payments to workers in return for agreeing to defer further pay talks until April 2011.
In February 2009 thousands of JLR workers agreed a one-year pay freeze and a four-day week in return for no compulsory job losses for two years in a bid to save up to £70 million amid the worst downturn for decades.
But JLR spokesman Jonathan Griffiths said of the Gateway Process: “The plan is to make an announcement around the middle of the year.”
A bulletin issued to all JLR employees last September said: “Solihull and Castle Bromwich will be invited to go through a gateway process to help determine the decision.”