This week, British manufacturer of sports and racing cars Lotus Cars has announced up to 325 job losses, representing about one quarter of its global workforce. CEO Jean-Marc Gales says it is necessary for the company to achieve its business targets.
Mr. Gales says his company aims to “build a strong, sustainable future.”
Despite posting sales nearly 50% higher than one year ago, profits are eluding the company. Lotus Cars needs to stop losing money.
The Norfolk-based business says compulsory lay offs are likely, but for the moment there is a 40-day consultation process underway with its employees and workers’ representatives on the planned changes, and on ways and means of minimizing job losses.
Richard Stuart Howitt, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Labour Party for the East of England, said he reacted with sadness and alarm to be told that jobs would be lost at Group Lotus.
Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales believes the lay offs are unavoidable.
Mr. Howitt said:
“I will work with the company and the unions to try to ensure that job losses are minimized and that current local engineering career opportunities and the reputation for automotive excellence here in the UK, across Europe and the world will continue.”
Mr. Gales said:
“We deeply regret the potential impact any reshaping of the business may have on our employees and their families.”
Aims to retain specific skills
Of its 1,215 employees worldwide, 1,032 work at its Norfolk plants. It plans to redeploy people wherever it can, and will look for ways to “retain specific skills and knowledge within the business,” Mr. Gales said.
Mr. Gales said the management tried everything it could to avoid having to lay people off, but the situation has reached a point where it is no longer a question of choice.
South Norfolk MP (Conservative) Richard Bacon said Group Lotus had made considerable progress over the last twelve months. He said this was bitter news for the workforce who had helped the company deliver better results in a highly competitive environment.
Lotus makes beautiful sports cars.
Mr. Bacon said:
“I understand that the company is going through a major reshaping process in order to become more sustainable for the future. The harsh truth is that if Lotus is to prosper in the long term it must do even better, at lower cost. I have spoken to the Business Secretary Vince Cable and also to the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to ask for every possible help from government at this difficult time.”
Mr. Bacon added that both ministers have pledge to ensure that the government take every possible step to minimize the effect of the announcement. He said there might be funding through the publicly-funded Talent Retention Scheme, which helps companies keep people in skilled jobs.