Call for Tata UK steel has come from Halewood plant workers who build models like Discovery Sport; JLR said it already uses specialist auto steel from its parent group

Call for Tata UK steel has come from Halewood plant workers who build models like Discovery Sport; JLR said it already uses specialist auto steel from its parent group

Jaguar Land Rover workers reportedly have questioned owner Tata's commitment to the UK after the Indian conglomerate cut thousands of jobs at its British steel making operation as a result of the crisis in that industry.

The Daily Telegraph said JLR workers have written to Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry demanding an urgent meeting to seek assurances that further redundancies are not coming and that Tata steel produced by the company will still be used to make JLR cars.

Tata's failed to sell part of its steel business to Klesch Group last year and there are rumours another deal could be in the works, the paper said.

According to the Telegraph, Ken Smite, who heads union Unite's representation at JLR's Halewood car plant on Merseyside, signed a letter to Mistry which said: "We have watched with increasing concern as the news unfolds that Tata Steel UK intends to dispose of its Scunthorpe plant. These developments raise concerns for us about Tata's plans within the UK as whole. As automotive workers we know that this industry still relies heavily on steel to manufacture components and vehicles in the UK. The world's best steel is produced by UK plants, by our Tata colleagues, and we are proud to use it in a number of the vehicles we produce."

The paper said the workers called for Mistry to "ensure that this relationship can endure" and that "steel automotive components used by JLR in the UK and the vehicles we make using steel here should use British-made steel."

Tata UK plants are thought to be the largest suppliers of steel to JLR, though little of the output from the Scunthorpe operation is used in the automotive sector, the Telegraph said.

Tata moved into ownership of some of Britain's biggest companies in 2006 when it won a GBP6.2bn takeover battle for steelmaker Corus, immediately making the Indian business the world's sixth biggest steel maker as the deal bolstered its existing facilities.

However, falling demand in the wake of the financial crisis, global overcapacity in the sector and high energy costs in the UK have hit Tata's British steel operations hard and it has been one of the most high-profile victims of the steel crisis, cutting more than 2,000 jobs so far this year and announcing the closure of two plants, the report said.

Although both companies are owned by Tata Group, they each operate independently, making their own decisions on matters including purchasing.

A JLR spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: "We continue to use high performance, specialist steel supplied by Tata Steel in the UK and that is not affected by the recent announcements. Like all other independent businesses, we make our own purchasing decisions based on the right commercial reasons."

A Tata Steel spokesman said: "We supply high performance automotive steels to Jaguar Land Rover which are manufactured at our UK plants. We value Jaguar Land Rover's efforts to develop local supply chains."