Tata Motors' owned Jaguar Land Rover production line in the UK may grind to a halt within weeks after delivery workers from DHL voted for strike, demanding a large pay rise and similar terms and conditions on par with the JLR staff.
The staff of logistics giant DHL, which has about 1,800 workers at JLR's three main factories -- 1,000 between Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the Midlands and 800 at Halewood, Merseyside, perform a key role in managing warehouse operations and bringing parts to production lines.
"The fear is that production could stop within a matter of hours without parts reaching the line," a source told 'The Sunday Times'.
DHL staff often work side by side with colleagues on better paid JLR contracts and are demanding a large pay rise to put them on similar terms and conditions.
Unite, their trade union, balloted DHL workers at JLR's two plants in the Midlands last week and about 74 per cent voted in favour of taking industrial action.
Those at Halewood are due to vote tomorrow and a similar outcome is expected.
According to the newspaper, DHL has offered a 4.5 per cent pay rise in the first 12 months, starting from January this year, plus a 3 per cent or inflation increase next year.
However, this is well short of the demand from Unite, which wants a 12.8 per cent rise over two years for workers, who sort car parts and bring them to the production line, plus a 20.6 per cent rise in the period for drivers.
JLR is not involved in the dispute as executives are concerned any intervention could spark secondary action from their own staff, many of whom are also members of Unite.
Any shutdown could potentially dent JLR's position as the biggest exporter of manufactured goods in the UK.
Sales of its luxury cars in China, Russia and America have boomed in the past two years, and it is one of the most profitable carmakers in the world under the Tata Group.
Britain's iconic luxury car brands saw a major revival under the Tata banner and now generate export revenues of almost 11 billion pounds a year and employ 24,000.
In May, the company had revealed record annual pre-tax profits of 1.68 billion pounds and is investing 2.7 billion pounds this year to help launch new models to keep up with soaring demand from the emerging economies of India and China.