Seven industrial cleaners at the giant Land Rover plant at Solihull have been suspended for alleged alcohol and drug abuse.
Workers employed by Lode Lane contract operator Voith were breath-tested last week and ordered to provide urine samples as part of a crackdown on substance abuse at the Solihull complex.
Sources say cleaners were asked to report for testing on the pretext of queries about their wage slips – and seven were subsequently suspended for either failing tests or refusing to take them.
Warwick-based Voith Industrial Services, who were awarded the Jaguar Land Rover cleaning contract last December covering its plants at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood, has refused to discuss the testing, which took place over two days last week.
But a cleaner, who asked not to be named, said: “There was no warning that they were going to do this. It came completely out of the blue.
“A supervisor came in and said there is an issue with your wages, we were all told to go into an office to sort it out, and there was a breathalyser test and a urine test. It was all pretty shocking.
“People have been suspended, including some who refused to take the test.”
Voith’s contract involves managing a range of services at Jaguar Land Rover’s UK manufacturing plants at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood.
The current contract, an extension of the group’s business with Jaguar Land Rover, involves 700 employees and continues cleaning services at the vehicle maker’s three UK manufacturing plants. The cleaner added: “It is the way that they have gone about it that has caused so much concern. It seems that they have broken their own rules, even though they claim it was random testing. It seems that they discriminated against young adult males.
“We do not know if Jaguar Land Rover even knew about any of this. JLR are currently on shutdown but anybody who has been suspended will not be allowed to go into work to carry out their normal duties.”
Voith Industrial Services is a long-standing supplier of JLR.
It also carries out cleaning duties for Peugeot and Vauxhall Motors.
Founded in 1867, Voith has more than 43,000 employees, generates £4 billion in sales, operates around the world, and is one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe.
The firm’s sales and business development director Phil Spencer said at the time of the extension of the contract: “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Jaguar Land Rover and are obviously delighted that it will continue in the future.
“The recent expansion of Jaguar Land Rover into new markets, and their introduction of new models, makes Jaguar Land Rover a strategically important customer, and we hope we can build on this success over the coming years.”
A spokesman for Voith confirmed to the Post that seven workers had been suspended, adding: “We have no further comment to make.”