Tata Motors’ subsidiary JLR reinstates 85% of furloughed employees

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Jaguar Land Rover was recently under fire when the COVID-19 crisis forced the company to send over 50% of its 40,000 employees in the UK on furlough. But the premium carmaker has called back as much as 85% of that workforce in the UK as it steps up production amidst the demand revival in most of its markets.

In the second quarter, Tata Motors-owned British carmaker's sales improved by 50% compared to the first quarter of the same fiscal year. And in an interview with IANS, JLR India president and managing director Rohit Suri said he is "cautiously optimistic about this recovery and hope this carries into the festive season and beyond."

“Our business is gradually returning to normal, with 99% of our global retailers now fully or partially open, all of our manufacturing plants operational with robust Covid-secure measures in place. Sales for July to September were over 50% up on the preceding quarter. Industry forecasts are for continued gradual recovery in demand globally,” the company told Business Insider.

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The company said it continued to bring furloughed employees back steadily. From a peak of around 20,000 employees on furlough, this had been reduced to currently 3,000 employees. That figure will continue to reduce week by week between now and when the UK furlough scheme ends at the end of October, the spokesperson said.

Keeping the furloughed employees back in the job will help the company benefit from the UK government’s job retention scheme. If it manages to keep all the 20,000 furlough employees, the carmaker may tend to get up to £20 million from the UK government’s job retention bonus.

With the furlough scheme coming to an end, JLR plans to cut between 100 and 200 jobs via a voluntary redundancy programme. However, the company is yet to decide. This after the UK government launched a new job support scheme, which aims to pay up to 22% of the salaries— with a cap of £2,100 a month— of employees on reduced hours.

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“As the UK government’s furlough scheme comes to an end, Jaguar Land Rover is implementing a very small targeted voluntary redundancy programme for some management and salaried employees currently on furlough. This is a prudent step given the challenges facing the global automotive industry in which we compete, giving these employees the choice to consider new opportunities outside of the company have been out of the business for more than seven months,” the company said.

The company said it is too early to comment on the numbers of employees that will be part of its voluntary redundancy programme. The consultation is in the early stages and would be subjected to employee interest in the scheme.

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