Jaguar Land Rover is scrapping plans to close one of its UK plants after securing what it calls "a landmark pay and conditions deal" with the unions.
JLR's owner Tata announced last autumn that it planned to close one of the firm's two factories in the West Midlands. That would have meant the end for either Castle Bromwich or Solihull, with the surviving plant joining Halewood on Merseyside in the JLR UK line-up.
However, the firm has confirmed this morning that it has signed a deal with the unions that will allow it to not only keep all three plants active, but also take extra 2000 staff. The net gain for the region in the short term is said to be between 4000 and 6000 workers.
Workers still need to ratify the deal, but if they do, JLR says the agreement will "lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in Britain over the next decade as Jaguar Land Rover invests billions of pounds in the UK and significantly increases both the number of models in its range as well as overall global volumes".
The first of the new models will be the Evoque, production of which will take place at Halewood. JLR has already started recruiting an additional 1500 staff for that project. A baby Jaguar saloon, and a new sports car, would increase the need for capacity further.
Autocar sources say that at present, there are no plans for JLR's UK plants to produce Tata vehicles, despite the firm's intention to expand that brand's presence in Europe - including the UK - over the next three years.
"Our parent company Tata supported us through the recession and our employees also made sacrifices but now we are seeing a great turnaround for the business," said Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth. "Everyone involved - our employees, our customers and our Tata shareholders - will benefit from this agreement. This is truly the beginning of a new era for Jaguar Land Rover."
JLR also confirmed that the deal includes a five per cent pay rise for existing employees next month, followed by a further rise of "at least three per cent" next November, and that there will be "an extension of performance-related pay" across the workforce.