Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has begun its week-long factory shutdown as part of its plans for Brexit.

As reported by the BBC, the shutdown, which is in addition to a scheduled closure for Easter, will affect 18,500 people employed at Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, and Halewood in Merseyside.

It will take place from Monday to Friday. The Easter closure will get underway the following week.

This comes after the company posted lower sales in Europe, and weaker demand in China, whose economy has slowed. JLR sales slumped 34%, while sales in Europe were down 4.5% due to uncertainty around future diesel vehicles, and the impact of new emissions legislation.

JLR has confirmed the break has started, calling it a “Brexit matter”.

Workers at JLR’s UK factories will be paid during the production shutdowns, but will have to make up the hours at a later date. The company has also started cutting 4,500 jobs from its 40,000 global workforce, affecting mainly management roles in the UK.

The shutdown was agreed in January when the UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March.
Mick Graham, Unite’s convenor at Solihull, said: “We had to make some plans to protect the business as best we could and we started talking about this in January.
“We knew we had to take reactive action to mitigate the potential effect of a bad Brexit or no-deal Brexit.
“Suppliers need notice to get their parts across to us. It was a prudent thing to do.”

Last week, Britain’s car industry group, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reiterated that a “no-deal scenario would have a devastating impact on investment and our hard-won reputation- risking the UK’s position as a leading global market and a centre of excellence for innovation.”

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