Jaguar has dismissed union claims that it is to lay off up to 2,000 British workers, reiterating that the job losses will be 1,150, as announced in September when it said it would end car assembly at the Browns Lane plant in Coventry next year.

Giving evidence to the UK government's Commons Select Committee, the Jaguar unions - Amicus and T&G - said on Wednesday that more job cuts were already coming to light at the Browns Lane plant in Coventry and at the company's Castle Bromwich site in Birmingham.

The unions told members of parliament they believe more redundancies are to come, claiming that, unless Jaguar revises its model lines and capacity levels, Whitley, the R&D site in the West Midlands, and another Jaguar UK production site are likely to close within 18 months.

However, in a statement sent to just-auto, Jaguar said: "The total number of voluntary separations as a result of the West Midlands manufacturing consolidation is 400 (for which we already have 650 volunteers so far). There are no other incremental redundancies as a result of this programme and therefore the figure of 2,000 given at the select committee is incorrect and misleading.

"The net result of these actions is that manufacturing job losses in the region could be as low as 100, with the concurrent announcement that Aston Martin is creating 300 new jobs.

"Separately at Jaguar and Land Rover, there are 500 staff separations being sought and we can confirm we also have sufficient volunteers to meet these numbers too. These will be achieved across the broader organisation (including Land Rover) and not targeted at any single part of the company operations or Whitley as alleged.

"In addition there is a reduction of 250 agency/contract positions. Therefore the total job losses are 1,150, not 2,000.

"Everyone who wants to stay with Jaguar will do so. Anyone who wants to leave is doing so willingly and with generous separation terms."

The statement reiterated that Jaguar had clearly stated [when announcing the Browns lane car assembly plant closure] that it was not closing the entire site because the wood veneer manufacturing centre, company headquarters and the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust archive and museum will remain there.

The statement added: "In addition, we would again like to reconfirm that we have no plans to close Whitley [the R&D centre on the outskirts of Coventry]. Indeed it remains at the heart of Jaguar's operations and will play an even more important role in design and engineering Jaguar's product future.

"As further evidence of this we have also announced our intention to develop a science and technology park on the site with Coventry City Council and other partners."

Unions told the select committee on Tuesday that they had no consultation with Ford prior to the announcement and had not met with them since. Union shop stewards from Browns Lane told the committee that workers learned of the effective closure of the plant from the media.

In response, Jaguar said: " We are talking about the future of Jaguar and there was no choice but to take action. The seriousness of Jaguar's position is clear and we have gone to extraordinary lengths to brief our employees and the unions - not just to the letter of the law but way beyond what most companies would do.

"We have given a year's notice of our intended actions, which provides adequate time for consultation with the union representatives.

"As an example we have had 14 national level union meetings in the last 12 months and the chairman personally talked to the entire 10,000 workforce about the seriousness of the business in a series of employee meetings in August.

"Jaguar has been ready and willing to meet with the unions at any time to listen to their thoughts on our plan and we are pleased they have now taken up our invitation. We are currently scheduling that meeting.

"The company's business has deteriorated dramatically this year and we are sustaining very heavy losses. The business was unsustainable at current levels. It is our responsibility to chart a recovery and we believe we have thoroughly researched every possible alternative. The proposals we announced in September represent our best endeavour for a viable Jaguar business.

"We are not talking about a short-term fix - we said it was a multi-year programme - but Jaguar can no longer afford to run three separate factories able to produce 200,000 cars a year when we are selling around 125,000 per year.

"However, we will be retaining vehicle production in Britain and Browns Lane will continue as both a manufacturing centre and as our corporate headquarters. The decision to cease vehicle production at Browns Lane was very difficult, but it is a misconception that Browns Lane will close.

"The terms of our package are best-ever for Jaguar and unquestionably generous. This has not been seen widely in the public domain, but as an example a typical production operator aged 50, with 25 years service, will receive a lump sum payment of £36,000 and an unreduced index-linked pension.

"Employees wishing to transfer to Castle Bromwich will receive a two-year disturbance allowance (which reimburses for any incremental mileage incurred by the employee), plus a one-off lump sum of £2,500. Those wishing to transfer to Aston Martin will get the same two-year disturbance allowance, plus a £5,000 lump sum.

"We have set aside a total of £4.5 million funding to establish employee support programmes for those employees affected. We have invited the unions to join us in running these programmes jointly."

Jaguar unions claim Ford plans more job cuts than announced

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