NEWS: Jaguar Land Rover workers win back 12.2% pay rise after landslide vote against Company alternative

Words & pics by Ed King

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) workers have won back a previously agreed 12.2% pay rise after a ‘workplace ballot’ took place last week.

In a landslide result, workers at the motoring giant “rejected” the alternative pay deal of 6% pay rise, about half of the rate of consumer inflation, and a one off and taxable £5000 pay out to help ‘combat the immediate cost of living challenges.’

Following weeks of negotiations between Unite the Union and the JLR bosses, with workers calling for the original agreement to be held, the decision was eventually put to a vote – with Unite telling its members they had been “obliged to listen” to JLR bosses but “you, the most important people, will have to be balloted.”

After JLR workers voted on Monday 11 July, a resounding message was sent to JLR bosses with over 84% saying ‘no’ to the alternative pay package.

And despite the new 6% increase being cited as JLR’s ‘final offer and there is no negotiation’, in a surprise U-turn an internal message from the car giant bosses stated:

‘Following the workplace ballot, the Jaguar Land Rover Trade Unions JNC has reported that the proposed offer of changes to pay and conditions of employment has been rejected.

‘However, as a result of the ballot outcome, the company can confirm that all Jaguar Land Rover hourly, A-D salaried and Business Protection colleagues will receive a pay increase of RPI+0.5%, in line with the original pay agreement.’

The reinstated pay deal will come in to affect for JLR workers from 1 October 2022 and is secured for two years.

Despite a strong victory for JLR workers, many at the Castle Bromwich plant are still uncertain about the car giant’s future – with around 3200 jobs in the balance if the Erdington assembly is shut down.

Workers report that internal notices for relocation or voluntary redundancy are “sent out regularly” with key top level management making surprise exits form the company, such as Grant McPherson – who acted as JLR Castle Bromwich’s Director of Operations for over seven years, Executive Director Manufacturing for over 3 ½ years, and helped sign off the ill-fated Merlin Agreement.

Grant McPherson left JLR in February 2022 to become Chief Operating Officer for Royal Mail.

Following the pay rise dispute, there are reports of many JLR workers also now losing faith in Unite, believing the worker’s union should have fought harder to keep the agreed package and had neglected their role by handing it over a worker’s vote.

One JLR worker, who wished to remain anonymous, previously told Erdington Local:

“People are fed up with the company pleading poverty all the time. The unions are so out of touch with their members it’s got to the point where we are cancelling our membership.

“We were promised and inflation based pay rise so the agreement made previously should be honoured.

“If I was a representative of the union, I would be asking the company why they can afford to make numerous managerial positions available and also paying agency workers £30 plus per hour to get customers cars ‘out of the door’.”

If you work at Jaguar Land Rover or have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, and want to tell us your side of the story, please email: jlr@erdingtonlocal.com

NEWS: Jaguar Land Rover bosses pull the rug on pay agreement to keep worker’s wages in line with inflation

Words & pics by Ed King

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) workers are set to lose a previously promised pay rise of 12.2% – despite company bosses agreeing the inflation led increase would be in place for two years.

In an ‘update on pay discussions’ letter sent to all JLR workers, the Joint Negotiating Committee – made up of JLR representatives and members of Unite the Union – explained how the car manufacturer had been ‘severely impacted by supply chain constraints’ and must renege on the previously agreed deal.

The letter continued to explain how the automotive giant was ‘not delivering the profit we need to reinvest in our business’ and how the previously agreed pay rise would add an ‘unbudgeted cost of £118m into the business this year and over £600m in the next five years.’

It further stated: ‘no business… can simply absorb such a cost’ and JLR were now forced to ‘find alternative ways to cover this shortfall’ – including pulling the rug on ‘reasonable and affordable pay increases for our colleagues each year.’

In place of the previously agreed and approved 12.2% pay increase, established to keep worker’s wages in line with consumer inflation, JLR bosses are now offering a 6% pay rise – at about half of the rate of consumer inflation.

Staff would also get a one off £5000 pay out in August 2022, to help ‘combat the immediate cost of living challenges’, although this ‘inflation easing’ lump sum would itself be taxable.

Unite the Union, who represent the JLR workers and make up part of the Joint Negotiating Committee at Jaguar Land Rover, issued their own letter to members following ‘a number of meetings’ to challenge the cut.

In a move by Unite many found frustrating, the union told their members how JLR were ‘not in a good place financially’ and put the fate of the pay deal down to an open ballot – with workers set to vote on Monday 11 July.

The internal memo from Unite, signed ‘in solidarity’, further explained: ‘We (Unite) have stressed how disappointed we are with this approach and that you, the most important people’, will have to be balloted.’

And whilst it was not clearly confirmed in the letter to workers from the Joint Negotiating Committee, the letter from Unite ended by saying:

‘The Company have stated that this (is) their final offer and there is no negotiation.’

But many JLR workers are now feeling let down by both Jaguar Land Rover bosses and Unite, with social media messages calling on them to ‘flood’ the trade union with messages explaining ‘how disgruntled we are with our dire representation.’

Rumours are also circulating about a vote of no confidence against the union at one of the JLR plants, although Erdington Local could not confirm this at the time of writing.

One JLR worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told Erdington Local:

“People are fed up with the company pleading poverty all the time. The unions are so out of touch with their members it’s got to the point where we are cancelling our membership.

“We were promised an inflation based pay rise so the agreement made previously should be honoured. It’s not our fault it’s into double figures.

“If I was a representative of the union, I would be asking the company why they can afford to make numerous managerial positions available and also paying agency workers £30 plus per hour to get customers cars ‘out of the door’.

“The ballot on Monday should not be even happening.”

Workers at Jaguar Land Rover are set to vote on the revised pay agreement from JLR on Monday 11 July.

If you work at Jaguar Land Rover or have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, and want to tell us your side of the story, please email: jlr@erdingtonlocal.com