“It’s a work ethic issue,” Tata told London Times in an interview published Saturday. “In my experience, in both Corus and JLR (Jaguar-Land Rover), nobody is willing to go the extra mile. I feel if you have come from Bombay for a meeting and the meeting goes on till 6pm, I would expect you won’t, at 5 o’clock, say, ‘sorry, I have a train to catch. I have to go home.’
“Friday, from 3.30pm, you can’t find anybody in their office.” In India, he said, “if you are in a crisis, if it means working to midnight, you do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that; the management is not.”
Although he stressed things had changed, Tata hinted strongly that the British seem to be resting on their past laurels. He noted a “certain comfort level that comes from a country that has had good times”. But Britain, he said, “needs a real push. It needs nationalism. The sort of spirit that comes during a war”.
British MPs and business leaders were quick to rebut Tata. “Nine-to-five is not British culture,” said David Frost, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce.