24/05/2018 15:58 BST | Updated 25/05/2018 12:57 BST

Jaguar Land Rover Plant Workers Facing Redundancy Have Just Learnt Their Fate Through A Massive 'Data Leak'

Exclusive: 'Breach' of agency staff data reveals disciplinary records and medical information.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
A logo sits outside the Jaguar Land Rover vehicle manufacturing plant in Solihull, West Mids.

An apparent data breach at Jaguar Land Rover’s West Midlands factory has disclosed the personal information of hundreds of workers and revealed their possible fate amid mass redundancies.

Documents containing the details of 647 agency staff at the luxury car firm’s Solihull site have been widely shared among the workforce.

The files, obtained by HuffPost UK, contain the names, payroll numbers, disciplinary records and even the number of sick days taken by staff.

[UPDATE: Britain’s data watchdog will probe ‘data breach’ at Jaguar Land Rover plant]

Another leaked list shows whether workers have been injured or if they have a disability. 

One file, titled “release list”, shows hundreds of staff marked with red lines – suggesting they will be let go.

Some of the documents contain “leave dates” for staff as early as Friday this week.

But one worried worker said they have yet to be formally told about specific redundancies since cuts were announced in April.

The worker said: “It’s disgusting really. People are walking round telling each other when they are leaving the business.

“It’s embarrassing for everyone. You’re driving round with people knowing you’re going to lose your job.

“It’s all you can see, everyone just looking at the documents, discussing it with each other.

“I am worried, there is information against some people’s names but nothing against mine.”

HuffPost UK
A screenshot of one of the leaked documents, including workers marked by red coloured cells - explained as those 'leaving the business'.

The person, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that management had initially dismissed the files as “fake news”.

However today Jaguar Land Rover said it had launched an investigation into the “extremely serious situation”.

Britain’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner, said employers have a duty to protect employees’ personal information.

The workers affected by the leak are employed by an agency called Staffline, on behalf of German logistics firm DHL.

Another leaked document contains answers to “frequently asked questions” on the redundancy process.

In an answer to whether staff get time of notice, the document states: “We will aim to provide all workers being affected by the headcount reduction 1 weeks’ notice where possible, however this cannot be guaranteed.”

The same document said Staffline plans to phase redundancies over the next two months.

Affected staff distribute parts for new cars which are constructed elsewhere on the site.

Jaguar Land Rover announced 1,000 agency job losses two months ago “to ensure market demand is balanced globally”.

But it is understood any redundancies affecting logistics and DHL’s agency staff are in addition to those announced by the car maker.

On Wednesday, the firm announced a fall in global profits after slow sales growth.

Responding to questions over the leaked document, Jaguar Land Rover said: “We are aware of this extremely serious situation and we have raised this matter with DHL and we are investigating.

“We take the personal data and security of Jaguar Land Rover employees extremely seriously.”

A spokesperson for DHL said: “DHL is aware of an incident concerning a document containing a limited amount of personal data of a number of agency workers on the account.

“Together with our partner Staffline we are investigating the cause as a matter of priority. DHL takes data security extremely seriously and we will ensure that steps are taken to prevent such an incident reoccurring in the future.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Staffline said it takes data protection “very seriously” and has “a dedicated data protection team to ensure the highest levels of protection are in place”. 

“Whilst sharing personal data is an integral part of our business to provide our clients with high quality personnel, we are naturally very concerned that there has been an isolated incident involving our employees’ information,” they said. 

“In this instance we understand that the data provided was done so in a compliant manner and was only shared with authorised personnel.”  

News of the leak comes just hours before the introduction of sweeping new regulations governing the protection of personal data.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will update data laws to reflect digital technology when it comes into force on Friday.

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UPDATE: This article has been updated with responses from DHL and Staffline.