Industry expert warns Trade Unions could lead to cheap labour cost for Jaguar
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya warns that Trade Unions handling of current pay situations at Jaguar Land Rover harkened to ‘bad old days’ of car industry industrial relations. It was Bhattacharyya who persuaded Indian multinational conglomerate, Tata, to buy Jaguar for £1.2 billion in 2008.
His worries follow the refusal of a three-year pay and conditions offer worth around 14 per cent amid union allegations of a £240 million pensions hit.
He also revealed fears that international countries such as United States, Hungary, Poland and Middle East states were making ‘substantial and very tempting offers’ to Jaguar to invest abroad.
Bhattacharyya added that Tata, with its commitment to vital Research and Development work, saved the UK automotive industry from ‘complete destruction’ following its takeover.
Bhattacharyya is the acting chair of Warwick Manufacturing Group, one of the world’s leading research and education groups based at the University of Warwick. He stated, “But we got them here and it effectively saved the auto industry in this country from destruction.
“In this context the recent problems associated with pay are very alarming. And this is all being paraded across the newspapers with the chief executive being blamed. What we are seeing is a glimpse of what used to happen in the past. Do we really want to go back to the past?
“Tata is very patient, it wants to see Jaguar Land Rover succeed, but it is an international company.
“Many countries want JLR to invest there – the United States, Hungary, Poland and the Middle East. These countries are making substantial and very tempting offers for JLR to do so. Wage costs are substantially lower and there is a lot of investment help.
“The unions should 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.”