Agency workers on temporary contracts at Jaguar Land Rover in Birmingham claim they have no idea if they will be paid during a planned two-week factory shutdown announced by the company.
Hundreds of agency staff will be affected by the temporary closure, which is due to take place later this month at the Solihull plant, with some threatening not to return because of the uncertainty surrounding the site’s future.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) confirmed that its staff will be paid during the October 22 to November 4 closure, but will have to make up the hours at a later date.
But more than 650 subcontractors employed by logistics company DHL Supply Chain claim they’ve been “left in the dark” just ten days before the planned closure.
Earlier this week HuffPost UK told how shop-floor staff are working in a toxic atmosphere of “fear and mistrust” as the car giant reels from consumer and government uncertainty over Brexit, along with tumbling diesel sales and a failure to attract new customers in the burgeoning Chinese market.
One DHL-contracted factory worker, who did not want to be named, said: “DHL nor the recruitment agencies who hired some of us have told us a thing about paying agency staff during the shutdown.
“I’ve heard rumours they are referring to it as a stand-down rather than shutdown, which suggests we will bank the hours and have to make them up at a later date, but so far we have been kept in the dark.
“It’s a very stressful situation where you can’t plan ahead, because you don’t know if you will be losing two weeks’ pay this month.”
He said staff morale was very low and many temporary workers were not planning to return after the two-week hiatus, fearing further redundancies and job-shedding in the New Year.
“We all recently had a slight pay rise to effectively ring-fence us temporary staff from leaving JLR to go to places like Amazon and Tesco for Christmas work,” the worker added.
“People are going to now go where the money and the jobs are and don’t need the uncertainty that comes at JLR.
“That’s not good news for JLR, because it means that when the assembly track starts running again they may not have the staff to man the suppliers, forklifts and HGVs.”
A spokesman for Unite, which represents workers, said the trade union had “been in constructive dialogue” and that it hoped to have “more details” on Friday.
DHL Supply Chain provides hundreds of contracted staff to manage goods received, inventory, and assembly line feeds at JLR’s Lode Lane plant in Solihull.
Earlier this year, the German logistics firm was at the centre of a massive data leak of sensitive employee information, which led to an investigation by the office of the Information Commissioner, the data watchdog.
HuffPost UK obtained documents which revealed the personal data of 647 staff employed by DHL via an agency called Staffline and appeared to have been compiled in preparation for mass redundancies.
One of the leaked documents included workers marked in red who were explained as those “leaving the business”, while other private files contained the names, payroll numbers, disciplinary records and even the number of sick days taken by staff.
Another list showed whether workers had been injured or if they suffered a disability with one file titled “release list”, showing hundreds of staff marked with red lines – suggesting they would be let go.
DHL could not be reached for comment.