Employment | 5,000 Jaguar Land Rover job losses following Brexit & Chinese economic downturn

5,000 Jaguar Land Rover job losses following Brexit & Chinese economic downturn

Today, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will announce that it will cut up to 5,000 jobs - 12.5% of its UK workforce – BBC reports.

Management, marketing and admin roles are reported to be the areas that will bear the most losses.

With the layoffs part of a £2.5billion cost-cutting plan. Whilst the BBC reports that the cuts could be because of slumping diesel sales and economic struggles in China -  the Daily Mail reports the sales in China have '"fallen off a cliff" -  the move reinforces concerns that many firms with UK bases could move their operations abroad to mitigate the financial effects of Brexit.

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Since 2014, Jaguar has hired 4,000 workers in China whilst a recent announcement revealed that production of the well-known Land Rover Discovery would move to Slovakia, providing 3,000 jobs for the country.

Whilst MPs are set to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal this week, the UK officially leaves the European Union on 29 March.

Brexit uncertainty

In the workplace, JLR’s move will highlight the danger Brexit poses – in so much as being a catalyst for firms to move their production, and therefore jobs, abroad.

Rolls Royce has already moved part of its design process to Germany – albeit the company said it won’t affect UK jobs.

In other manufacturing sectors, factories closing down or moving production abroad have cited Brexit as one of the deciding factors. One ball-bearing factory in Plymouth closed stating this reason.

In addition, speaking today, Business Secretary Greg Clark said that a No Deal Brexit would kick JLR whilst it “was down”.

Currently, different areas all across the UK are reporting that Brexit would create job losses in their areas. The Liverpool Echo reports that Brexit would cause over 1,500 job losses in the area.

Whilst the East Long Advertiser reports that tens of thousands of jobs are set to be lost in East London – home to much of the banking sector – if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Heavily populated areas such as Manchester, Glasgow, North London and Birmingham – near to where JLR is based – are also predicted to face heavy job losses, research by Sussex University found.

Other industries other than manufacturing are feeling the effect. The retail sector spent 2018 cutting jobs in five-figure swathes.

However, what is surprising in the JLR case is that many of predicted job losses are from more ‘white collar’ roles.

When HR Grapevine spoke to Lara Keenan, Partner at Child & Child, Globalaw, she explained that it low-skilled workers who will likely bear the brunt of Brexit.

Talent landscape

In the workplace, JLR’s headline-making move will re-highlight tensions. The Labour are currently concerned what Brexit will mean for worker’s rights.

For business leaders and HR management, there are fears that Brexit won’t just move jobs abroad to other bases but will spark an exodus of EU talent from the EU.

These fears are already taking hold. Carluccio’s restaurant chain has already agreed to pay the £65 EU Settlement fee for its 1,550 non-British members of staff.

However, one Employment Lawyer, speaking to the Mirror Group, said that any firms considering this tactic, to keep hold of needed talent, could be accused of discrimination from both domestic and foreign staff.

Additionally, research from human capital specialists Robert Half UK found that almost half of firms are struggling to find the right talent as Brexit nears.

Hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing and technology are sectors particularly effected.

The EU Settlement fee means all EU citizens living in the UK will need to apply for the right to remain in the UK after June 30, 2021.

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