LONDON (AP) -- Workers at beleaguered British auto maker Jaguar Land Rover have voted for a pay freeze and a reduced work week in order to save jobs, their unions said Thursday.
The proposals were backed by 70 percent of the nearly 9,000 workers in the carmaker's British operations who voted, Unite and the GMB union, which represent the workers, said in a joint statement.
"The choice for our members was clear -- further mass redundancies or what is undoubtedly some short-term pain in order to secure the future for our members and their families," the statement said. "Only the latter could have been in the best interests of our members."
Under the agreement, which goes into immediate effect, pay will be frozen until 2010 and there will be a four-day work week at the plants and the cancellation of bonuses for about 2,400 salaried employees.
Jaguar Land Rover, which was bought by Tata Motors Ltd. in June 2007 from Ford Motor Co. for $2.3 billion, has already laid off 450 people this year.
"This is an important step for us as a standalone business," Chief Executive David Smith said. "It also confirms our determination as a team to steer Jaguar Land Rover through these extraordinary and challenging times, so that our business is ready to take advantage when the downturn finally ends."
In January, government figures revealed that new car production fell by 58 percent from the year before; BMW, Nissan, Aston Martin, Honda, Ford, Bentley and Toyota have all announced job cuts. Britain's auto industry employs about 850,000 people, as well as hundreds of supply companies.