Two in five workers employed by DHL on a JLR logistics contract face redundancy, across full time, salaried and agency staff, auto workers union Unite said in a statement.

The union noted DHL's announcement of 2,200 job cuts came on the eve of this week's UK chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) speech to map the nation's recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

In the event, measures announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak did include a GBP1,000 bonus for each worker companies bring back from furlough and employ through to January 2019 and a "kickstart scheme" to directly pay firms to create jobs for 16 to 24 year-olds, as well as cash for businesses to take on trainees and apprentices.

Other measures were aimed at the housing, hospitality and energy sectors. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was disappointed with the GBP300bn stimulus package because there was little to aid the sector.

Unite said the JLR job cuts would affect all JLR major factories in the north west of England and the West Midlands, including Castle Bromwich (Jaguar), Ellesmere Port, Halewood (Land and Range Rover), Hams Hall, Midpoint, Solihull (Land and Range Rover) and Tyrefort.

The 2,200 proposed redundancies are just under 40% of the entire DHL workforce on the contract.

Unite said DHL had not given a firm date about when the redundancy process would be completed but had indicated half of the job losses were a result of a decline in car production and half a result of anticipated 'efficiency savings'.

Unite national officer for logistics Matt Draper said: "This is a massive, bitter blow for a dedicated workforce - and on the eve of the chancellor's speech underscored the urgency of need for jobs saving action from the government.

"Again, while governments in Spain, France and Germany are acting swiftly to secure a future for their car manufacturers, we see no such ambition from the UK government and as a result jobs are going.

 "Unite has not yet received any details of how DHL intends to make 50% of the proposed redundancies through efficiency savings but we are making abundantly clear to DHL that they will not be able to force these workers to undertake impossible workloads as they show other workers the door.  

"While DHL is the employer, the reality is that the workers perform their roles for JLR.

"JLR has a moral duty to ensure that workers are treated fairly and decently during this incredibly difficult and stressful time.

"DHL must not attempt to make permanent full time staff redundant while continuing to outsource work to subcontractors."  

Unite stressed it would ensure that the eventual number of job losses is kept to an absolute minimum.

A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain told just-auto: "In light of highly challenging trading conditions in the global automotive sector and the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our linefeed and freight operations supporting the Jaguar Land Rover contract.

"This is in line with future volume forecasts and forms part of the optimisation and efficiency initiatives that have been driven by both organisations in recent months.

"We are now in consultation with our employees and their representatives and will make every effort to redeploy as many colleagues as possible to our other operations nationwide.

"We would like to thank our colleagues for their understanding at this extremely difficult time and stress that this proposal is based solely on the commercial challenges affecting the global automotive sector, and in no way reflects on the service levels delivered on the contract in recent years."

A Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson said: "DHL informed us that they were going into consultation with some of their workforce last month.

"Through its ongoing transformation programme and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance and achieve further operational efficiencies to enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of our business."