London : Three hundred workers at Jaguar and Land Rover factories in Britain have signed up to stay off work, taking advantage of an innovative scheme offered by owners Tata, according to a report Saturday.
Managers at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory and Land Rover’s Solihull plant in central England have offered workers leave of up to three months in order to cope with a slowing demand for cars.
Workers who sign up will be paid 80 percent of their salaries for the duration of the leave – and are able to apply for temporary jobs if they wish.
Around 200 have gone on leave already and a further 100 will clock off later this month, the Birmingham Mail reported.
Sales of new cars in Britain have been falling for six months, with October registering a 23 percent fall, and Tata’s scheme is expected to stave off many redundancies.
Land Rover spokesman Mark Foster said: “The level of uptake is in line with our expectations. This is an innovative means of managing stock levels through what are extremely challenging trading times for the whole automotive industry.”
Under the scheme workers have to take a minimum of four weeks’ leave, going up to a maximum of three months.
JLR has sought around 600 voluntary redundancies in two separate initiatives, with the first scheme, covering 200 jobs, already taken up, the paper reported.
Night shifts have also been cut at Land Rover while workers on the XJ and XK lines at Jaguar are on a four-day production week until the New Year.
JLR Chief Executive David Smith has urged more action by the British government and Bank of England to help industry tide over the expected difficult years ahead.
“We must ensure that young people are acquiring the skills that they will need for the well-paid, high-quality jobs on which our prosperity will rest,” he said.