Tata-owned Corus, Jaguar Land Rover take a knock (Lead)

October 17th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 17 (IANS) Two companies owned by the Tata Group in Europe have taken cost-cutting steps in response to the financial crisis sweeping Britain and other wealthy countries.While Corus, Europe’s biggest steelmaker that is owned by Tata Steel, announced a 20 percent cut in production, Jaguar Land Rover - the iconic Tata Motors-owned British carmakers - said they are looking to shed 198 jobs.

Corus, an Anglo-Dutch steelmaker, said Thursday its move to cut production by 20 percent across all its operations was prompted by a slump in demand, but announced no job losses.

Jaguar Land Rover described its planned redundancies as a “low-key programme” unrelated to the financial crisis.

A Corus spokesperson said: “The decision is aimed at aligning steel production with demand, which is now affected by the consequences of the global financial crisis.”

The decision means Corus will reduce its crude steel production over the next three months by around one million metric tonnes.

“We are taking appropriate steps to optimise our operations and protect our sound financial position over the next few months,” said Philippe Varin, Corus CEO.

The company said there are no plans for cutting back production of the Tata Steel Group outside Europe.

A workers union spokesperson at Corus’ factory in Scunthorpe, an industrial town in eastern England, said he hoped the cutback was a “blip” and that production would soon be back to normal.

“We have been assured there will be no job losses, but production at Scunthorpe will be cut by around 20,000 tonnes a week for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The company is expected to reduce output at its main sites of Port Talbot, Scunthorpe, Teesside and Rotherham in Britain and IJmuiden in the Netherlands until the end of the year, when it will review output.

Corus has a workforce of 24,400 in Britain and 11,700 in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover, which employees 15,000 people in Britain, said it is seeking 198 voluntary redundancies in its Halewood, Solihull and Castle Bromwich plants in central and northwest England.

A spokesperson for the carmaker said it was part of an “ongoing drive to improve efficiency”, and similar cuts had been made in previous years.

“It’s obviously a pretty low-key programme. It’s something we’ve essentially done in some way over the last several years at this time of year as part of our ongoing drive to improve operational efficiencies,” spokesperson Don Hume said.

“It is a small redundancy programme and it affects 198 staff across all our manufacturing sites,” he said.

“It’s not really connected to the economic downturn.”

The announcement comes after a slump in Land Rover sales in September. However, Jaguar sales increased through the success of its XF model.

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