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Jaguar Land Rover UK staff reject pay deal, union calls for more talks

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 22:43
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British workers at carmaker Jaguar Land Rover have voted against an offered pay rise and pension changes as Britain's biggest trade union said the firm should return to the negotiating table or face a ballot for industrial action.

[LONDON] British workers at carmaker Jaguar Land Rover have voted against an offered pay rise and pension changes as Britain's biggest trade union said the firm should return to the negotiating table or face a ballot for industrial action.

Talks between the Indian Tata-owned automaker and workers' representatives ended with no agreement in October after the union rejected a pay deal offering staff a rise of at least 3 per cent in each of the next three years.

On Thursday, trade union Unite said nearly 13,000 staff had rejected the pay offer, with just under 500 accepting.

Unite national officer Roger Maddison said there were concerns over what he said were proposed reductions to pension provisions at the firm.

"With the company making a staggering 10 million pounds (US$15.7 million) profit a day, it is no surprise that the workforce is angered by pension cuts and a pay offer that falls short in recognising their role in that success," he said.

Jaguar Land Rover would not comment on details of the pay or pension deal when asked by Reuters but a spokesman said the firm was very disappointed with the result of the ballot but committed to reaching a negotiated settlement.

After years in the doldrums, Jaguar Land Rover has enjoyed a new lease of life since it was bought by India's Tata group in 2008, recording a 2013/14 pre-tax profit of 2.5 billion pounds, more than doubling in three years.

Staff were offered a 3.6 per cent rise in the first year plus a bonus and either 3 per cent or the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation plus 0.5 per cent depending on which is higher in years two and three, a trade union source told Reuters.

Last year the firm built almost one in three of Britain's 1.5 million cars and in October opened a 500 million pound engine manufacturing centre, its fifth site in Britain.

REUTERS