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“Highly challenging conditions” in the automotive sector will see DHL Supply Chain restructure linefeed and freight operations for Jaguar Land Rover .

As a result, Unite the Union has said that some 2,200 employees are at risk of redundancy. However DHL has said that it will “make every effort” to redeploy employees where possible.

A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain told Logistics Manager: 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.”

Union unite said that 40% of the workforce on the contract, totalling some 2,200 employees, would be consulted with as part of the restructure.

The union said that staff at all of JLR’s major factories including Castle Bromwich, Ellesmere Port, Halewood, Hams Hall, Midpoint, Solihull and Tyrefort would be affected.

A JLR employee loads a PHEV battery onto an assembly line at its Halewood plant

Unite national officer for logistics Matt Draper said: “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.”

JLR and DHL Supply Chain signed a five-year contract extension in 2019, expanding on a ten-year working relationship.

A Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson 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.”