When a large corporation reaps record-breaking profits, you’d expect the company’s success to be reflected in their employees’ pay packets.
But Jaguar Land Rover, which made unprecedented first quarter gains of £1bn this year, along with £2.5bn in profits last year, has decided to stiff the very workers who keep their business ticking over.
Ninety six per cent of the 14,000 workers across Jaguar Land Rover’s five UK plants resolutely turned down the carmaker’s pay deal, which fell far short of expectations, in a consultative ballot.
And it wasn’t just pay that has caused mounting anger among JLR’s workforce. The carmaker has threatened changes to the final salary scheme, including £240m worth of pension cuts, despite pension changes having been agreed two years ago.
The workforce is also concerned with employers’ plans in which new starters would be required to work a full six years to reach 100 per cent pay, as well as the introduction of a new bonus payment.
Workers fear that the bonus payment, which isn’t consolidated or pensionable, may work against their favour by gradually replacing pay rises, which attract company pension payments over the years.
Unite national officer Roger Maddison argued that the carmaker was not rewarding its employees’ hard work fairly.
“The workforce made huge sacrifices and endured pay freezes during difficult times to ensure that Jaguar Land Rover is the success it is today,” Maddison said.
“Their hard work, skills and commitment have helped ensure that JLR has become a highly profitable world leader with a bulging order book,” he added. “With the company making a staggering £10m in profits a day, it is no surprise that the workforce is angered by pension cuts and a pay offer that falls short in recognising their role in that success.”
Maddison went on to say that if JLR didn’t get back to the negotiating table to hammer out a better deal that compensates its workers fairly, the union would consider a potential ballot of members for industrial action across the company’s five sites.
When Unite balloted its members on the pay offer, the turnout was especially noteworthy – 12,881 voted to reject the pay offer, with only 454 voting to accept and 17 spoilt ballot papers.