Jaguar Land Rover to retain three UK factories
Thousands of jobs have been saved at Jaguar Land Rover's plants in the West Midlands, the company has announced.
The company announced in September 2009 that one of its factories in Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, or in Solihull would close within 10 years.
Unite said it had reached a new pay deal with management to secure the jobs of about 7,000 workers in the Midlands.
JLR said the "landmark" deal meant jobs would stay in Solihull, Halewood on Merseyside, and Castle Bromwich.
About 2,000 are employed at Castle Bromwich and a further 5,000 work at the plant in Solihull.
JLR chief executive Dr Ralf Speth said recruitment was already under way to fill 1,500 new posts at Halewood to support the launch of of the Range Rover Evoque.
The deal was a "triumph for all concerned" he said, adding that the pay and conditions deal "is truly the beginning of a new era for Jaguar Land Rover".
Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, said the news gave hope to "young employed of the future."
"The three plants are now safe, £5bn investment will go in, tens of thousands of jobs will be preserved or created.
"Hope for the young employed of the future."
Geoff Cousins, managing director of Jaguar Cars UK, said the news was a "shot in the arm for the whole region".
"Our plans stretch out five and 10 years," he said. "We just have to prove ourselves as we move through that period and be successful."
Unions had thought the Solihull plant was safe but that production would end at Castle Bromwich with some jobs moving to the Halewood factory.
Unite said the deal meant jobs across all three sites were secure until at least 2020.
Gerard Coyne, regional secretary of Unite, said: "It's an excellent deal and we are very pleased that this now secures the future for Castle Bromwich, but also a commitment to a three-site solution for JLR in the UK, which is great news."
He claimed the future of the Solihull plant had never been in doubt because of its larger size and the fact it was the "ancestral home" of Land Rover.
"Far from a pay cut, it's a 5% pay increase for this year as part of a two-year deal with an RPI-plus agreement in the second year in terms of RPI plus half a percent or 3%, whichever is higher," said Mr Coyne.
He added that for new starters there would be new rates but the deal "secured the investment we've been looking for and potentially 4,500 jobs which are new jobs across the group," he added.
"The deal was secured very late yesterday evening, so it will be going through our shop stewards to the membership.
"I have to say that it's our anticipation that there won't be any difficulty with this as it is," said Mr Coyne.
Terry Fitzgerald also from Unite said: "This is fantastic news for everybody in Birmingham, after long protracted negotiations. The past six months have been quite hellish, but I am very happy with where we are."
Paint shop worker Mick Jones from Erdington, Birmingham, said: "It's better than good. It's far more than we could have expected and I am gobsmacked."
Lorely Burt, Liberal Democrat MP for Solihull, previous anxiety about the plants especially the one in her constituency, had now faded.
"The number of times I've stood outside the Solihull plant and we've been so anxious about the future of the plant.
"But, today, you can see from the smiling faces of everyone...it's just fantastic news. It really is."