Car plant to shut for a week due to Brexit uncertainty

Halewood plant

Car maker Jaguar Land Rover is to shut down production for a week because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The closure will affect thousands of staff in Halewood on Merseyside as well as Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

The shutdown is in addition to the planned closure the following week for Easter.

Unite the union said the move was agreed in January when the UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March.

The company said it needed more clarity around Brexit and warned that a “no-deal” would cost it more than £1.2bn in profit each year.

Mick Graham, Unite’s convenor, said: “We had to make some plans to protect the business as best we could and we started talking about this in January.

“We knew we had to take reactive action to mitigate the potential effect of a bad Brexit or no-deal Brexit.

“Suppliers need notice to get their parts across to us, It was a prudent thing to do.”

In a message to staff JLR management said: “Due to potential Brexit disruption we will declare a week of production stand-down 8th – 12th April.

“We will use our existing contractual stand-down agreements, which will be consulted on locally at each site as per normal process.

“There may be a need to announce additional periods of stand-downs. If this is required or there is any change to our plans, you will be briefed by your local management.

“We understand that this is an unsettling period and would like to thank you for your patience and continued co-operation.”

The car maker, which employs just under 39,000 workers, announced in January it was cutting 4,500 jobs, with the majority coming from its UK workforce.

The job losses are part of a £2.5billion cost-saving programme triggered by falling sales and uncertainty over Brexit.

Just over 5,000 staff are employed in Halewood where the firm manufactures the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.