ADL could cut 650 jobs
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) is to initiate a restructuring programme which places up to 650 jobs at risk. The move is being made as a result of the significant decline in UK demand for new buses and coaches.
With many UK customers not in a position to place orders for new vehicles following the impact of lockdown, social distancing and low passenger numbers, ADL has utilised the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme as well as implementing salary reductions and reduced working hours for non-furloughed staff, along with stringent cost saving measures across all business functions. However, the steps taken so far are insufficient to align the company’s cost base to the current economic reality and it now seeks to move to a leaner, more flexible manufacturing model that maintains its strong customer focus and best-in-class aftermarket support.
A formal consultation will begin in the coming weeks on the restructuring programme, which places up to 650 jobs at risk across all functions and at all of ADL’s facilities in the UK (Scarborough, Falkirk and Guildford.
Colin Robertson, who is transitioning from his role as ADL’s Chief Executive to join NFI’s Board as Vice Chair, said: “A few short months ago, we were looking at a record year of sales, reaping the benefits of all our investment in new technology, new products and new markets. All of this changed with the impact of COVID-19.
“Since March, we have been in constant dialogue with the UK and Scottish Governments to make them aware of the unprecedented crisis facing our industry. We are deeply grateful for the support offered by the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme, and we are heartened by the Prime Minister’s reiteration earlier this month of the pledge he made in February to bring 4,000 new green buses into service. We continue to call upon both Governments to act now to prevent further job cuts and preserve the UK’s world-leading bus and coach manufacturing industry.”
ADL says it remains firmly committed to working with its customers and supporting the bus and coach operating industry which itself is battling an unprecedented crisis. Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, said: “As the UK’s leading bus builder and the world leader in double deck buses, we aim to continue to play a key role in delivering on Governments’ congestion, decarbonisation and clean air targets. We have the technology, experience, skilled workforce, capacity and commitment to deliver thousands of new green buses.”
The changes at ADL are part of a wider restructuring programme announced by NFI, affecting ADL’s sister companies in the United States and Canada along with the consolidation of ADL’s spare parts business in North America into NFI Parts.
Trade union Unite has called on the government to bring forward £3 billion plans to get 4,000 new green buses on the UK’s roads to prevent job losses amongst the firm’s 2,500 strong workforce.
Unite national officer, Steve Bush, said: “This is a devastating blow for Alexander Dennis workers and their communities. Unite will be doing everything possible to support our members at this difficult time and we will be working with ADL to ensure the company explores all possible avenues to minimise redundancies.
“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the automotive sector greatly. However, ADL is in a good position to take advantage of the need to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s passenger transport network. Unite is clear ADL must not impact its future operating capacity by cutting jobs opportunistically for the sake of short-term savings.
“The government also has its part to play. This month Boris Johnson reiterated that £3 billion will be allocated for 4,000 green buses to be built. Those plans must be activated as soon as possible to save jobs and get the UK on the road to cleaner public transport.
“As Unite has emphasised in correspondence with minister for transport Grant Shapps, the easiest way to achieve this would be for the government to purchase the buses directly from manufacturers. The government could then lease them to the bus operators, many of whom are delaying orders because their cash flows have been impacted by the lockdown.”