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: [email protected]

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