UK: Tata could shift JLR production abroad - Bhattacharyya
Lord Bhattacharyya, who was instrumental in helping to secure the sale of Jaguar Land Rover to Tata Motors, has written of his concern for the company's future in Britain. JLR is currently embroiled in a wage dispute with its UK workforce.
Interviewed by the Birmingham Post, for whom he is also a columnist, Kumar Bhattacharyya said he viewed the current deadlock over a wage rise to be like "the bad old days" of industrial relations in Britain.
The peer claims that "substantial and very tempting offers" have been made to JLR management from government officials in the Middle East, the US, Hungary and Poland to set up potential vehicle production plants.
"The unions should not be airing their grievances in public. It has been suggested that JLR is making money hand over fist. Yet the investment required to take the company forward is massive. The unions need to understand that".
"And they should also understand that, though Tata does not believe in short-termism, if it finds that JLR's cost base has become too high here then it will have no hesitation in putting future investment abroad," he added.
The newspaper notes that 96% of JLR staff voted against a proposed three-year pay deal, worth around 14%, which has raised the prospect of industrial action.
Unite, the union in question, said the deal "fell short of expectations" and "failed to recognise the workforce's contribution to last year's profits of £2.5 billion." Fresh negotiations between Unite and JLR are now said to be in the works.