Motor Co. likely will sit down with U.K. labor officials in November to hear concerns about the auto maker’s decision to close a Jaguar Cars plant in Coventry.
A Ford spokesman tells Ward’s the auto maker received a request from the unions last week and the two parties now are ironing out the schedule for a roundtable discussion. However, he doesn’t indicate whether Ford is willing to change its Browns Lane plan.
“We’re ready to listen to (labor’s) thoughts,” he says.
Additionally, Ford is expected to be called before the British parliament’s Trade and Industry Select Committee in early November to defend the Browns Lane decision. (See related story: British MPs to Grill Ford on Jag Cuts)
Browns Lane’s XK coupe and XJ sedan production will be consolidated at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich Assembly facility in Birmingham, U.K., and Ford will cut some 400 hourly and 750 white collar jobs.
The two unions representing Jaguar workers – Amicus and The Transport and General Workers Union – repeatedly have criticized Ford’s decision, claiming the company’s plans were made without “consulting” Jaguar workers. (See related story: Jag Workers Protest Cuts)
The unions reportedly plan to hold a secret ballot concerning potential action against Ford at Browns Lane, but the vote likely will wait until after the meeting between union and Ford brass. Union officials say a large contingent of U.K. hourly workers are upset with Ford, and their displeasure has garnered the support of parliamentary officials and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
PAG CEO Mark Fields told Ward’s following the Browns Lane announcement the auto maker went “to great lengths to mitigate the impact on the community,” including consultation with the unions. “What we’ve been focusing on is why we’ve made this decision and also the provisions we’ve put in to provide some cushions for any of those people that will be affected.”
The unions say the auto maker earlier this year had guaranteed the future of Browns Lane, saying it would build the next-generation XK.