Gloomy job prospects for car workers despite Mandelson’s support package

The automative industry leads the latest job cuts league table, despite yesterday’s government rescue package.

Component manufacturer GKN, which makes parts for the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Sport, said it had cut 242 UK posts so far. Since October the firm lost 2,800 jobs worldwide and may have to shed more because of the slump in car sales, according to a BBC report.

Meanwhile diesel engine manufacturer Perkins has announced 450 job losses, blaming economic conditions which have hit demand for its products. The Peterborough-based firm employs 2,700 people in the town. The job losses include 100 office staff and 350 hourly-paid staff.

The announcements follow business secretary Peter Mandelson’s package of multi-billion pound loan guarantees to support the automotive industry where thousands of jobs are under threat.

The government will guarantee £1.3bn loans from the European Investment Bank to the car industry, as well as a further £1bn in loans for investment in the “greening of the car industry”, Mandelson said.

Car firms will also be able to dip into a £100m Train to Gain pot to train their workers despite the downturn, Mandelson added.

Job-losses also dominated the headlines in other sectors.

Thames Water is cutting 300 jobs, most of which will be in support services in Reading and Swindon. The firm, which employs 5,000 people, said the recession was reducing its revenue, partly as more customers were unable to pay bills. Compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out.

The GMB union said it may oppose the job cuts. Gary Smith, GMB national secretary, said, “GMB want to meet Thames Water to discuss these job cuts. We will take some convincing that there is an economic case for these job losses.”

Meanwhile a further 36 Adams Childrenswear stores are set to close, with the loss of 267 jobs, according to its administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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