Alexander Dennis has had to begin the formal consultation on its previously announced restructuring programme – cutting 25% of its workforce – in response to the significant fall in demand in the UK for new buses and coaches as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company employs around 2,500 people, with 650 jobs to be cut as a result of the pandemic, which has seen bus operators cancel orders for hundreds of vehicles as passenger demand collapses.
The dramatic fall in demand for new buses and coaches as a result of lockdown, social distancing and low passenger numbers has left ADL with “no alternative but to adjust its business to the current economic situation.”
As a result bus chassis production at Guildford is being transferred to Falkirk.
This will impact around 200 employees in manufacturing and operational support roles at Guildford.
Non-manufacturing functions including Engineering, Test & Development and Aftermarket will continue to be based at the Guildford site.
The current lack of demand will also mean the potential loss of 90 production jobs in Scarborough and a net reduction of 160 manufacturing roles in Falkirk, even with chassis assembly transferred to that site.
As the company adjusts its overhead to the change in manufacturing activity, a further 200 roles will be affected in support functions across all UK sites. ADL is actively seeking voluntary redundancies to reduce the number of compulsory job losses.
“We continue to call upon the UK and Scottish Governments to urgently introduce meaningful support to facilitate demand for new buses and coaches”Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director
ADL President & Managing Director Paul Davies says: “The Dennis brand is of huge significance to the company, with its proud history and heritage of automotive innovation dating back to its inception in 1895.
“We will fight hard to protect this legacy and will continue to invest in our chassis product range, which will continue to be engineered in Guildford.”
Bus chassis manufactured at Guildford are transported by road to Scarborough and Falkirk for bodybuilding.
Mr Davies says: “We have no choice but to implement these tough decisions to protect the company’s future health.
“We remain confident that the situation will improve in time, and we are well placed to take advantage when that happens, but right now we have to adjust to our new economic reality.
“We continue to call upon the UK and Scottish Governments to urgently introduce meaningful support to facilitate demand for new buses and coaches, not only to prevent further damage to UK bus and coach manufacturing that could threaten additional production sites, but to help build back better with a green recovery that delivers cleaner air for our towns and cities.
“The installed UK fleet is currently approximately 50,000 buses and 21,000 coaches with an average age of nearly 11 years. Further, only 0.1% of the total fleet are electric, which provides opportunity for massive reduction of the environmental footprint.”
In response to claims made by union Unite that ADL is cutting UK jobs at the same time as outsourcing its major double-decker contract for Berlin to a company in Turkey, ADL says “this are entirely disconnected from the actions we are being forced to take in the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”
ADL says: “The ongoing lack of clarity over the future trade relationship between the UK and the European Union threatens import tariffs and other costs which would make this and potential other European contracts commercially unviable if manufactured in the UK.
“As in other parts of the world where UK manufacture is not feasible, we have had to make contingency plans to ensure the contract remains viable.”
In a statement ADL says: “Since the announcement on 27 July 2020 of a restructuring programme that puts up to 650 jobs at risk across all of the company’s UK facilities, ADL has continued its dialogue with the UK and Scottish Governments and other stakeholders.
“However, there remains no immediate visibility of the stimulus funding urgently required to support operators to place orders, making it necessary to begin the formal consultation on the proposed changes.
“ADL remains firmly committed to working with its customers and supporting the bus and coach operating industry, which is battling an unprecedented crisis.
“The restructuring programme is designed to adjust current capacity without compromising the company’s ability to respond to a resurgence of demand in the future.”