Around 2,200 agency staff working at Jaguar Land Rover plants in the North West and West Midlands have learnt their jobs are at risk.
According to Unite the union, the cuts will affect two in five of the entire workforce employed by DHL on the JLR logistics contract across full-time, salaried and agency staff.
It’s been described by the union as a “bitter blow”, and comes as a result of a decline in car production.
The cuts will fall on all of JLR’s major factories in the North West and the West Midlands, including Ellesmere Port, Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Hams Hall, Midpoint, Solihull and Tyrefort.
The 2,200 proposed redundancies comprise just under 40% of the entire DHL workforce on the contract.
According to Unite, DHL has not given a firm date about when the redundancy process will be completed – but has indicated that half of the job losses are a result of a decline in car production and half are as 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 underscores 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 sub-contractors.”
A spokeswoman for Jaguar Land Rover 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.”
A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain said: “ 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.”