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Ratan Tata denies attack on 'lazy' British workers

AFP  New Delhi, May 22, 2011
First Published: 13:15 IST(22/5/2011) | Last Updated: 13:24 IST(22/5/2011)

Ratan Tata has denied calling his British workers lazy after a London newspaper quoted him attacking them for heading home early on Friday afternoons.

The Tata Group issued a statement after the Times published an interview in which he described how "nobody is willing to go the extra mile" at Jaguar Land Rover or Corus, two British firms which he bought in 2008 and 2006.

"Friday, from 3.30pm, you can't find anybody in their office," he told the Times.

The Tata Group, a massive international conglomerate, said Ratan Tata had stressed that he was talking about management practices before he took over.

"Mr Tata has always been proud of what these companies' present management teams have been able to do following their acquisition by Tata," the statement issued late on Saturday said.

"The Times... seeks to present these comments as being about company managers today, even though Mr Tata makes clear in the interview that new management at Corus and Jaguar Land Rover has eliminated those practices."

It said the newspaper "fundamentally misrepresents" Ratan Tata, adding he never used the word "lazy" during the recorded interview, which took place two months ago.

Tata said on Friday it would axe up to 1,500 jobs at two steel-making sites in northeastern England, blaming weak demand for its products.

The Times interview made front-page news in India, with newspapers relishing the comparison between work ethics in Britain and in India, where Ratan Tata said workers stay in the office until midnight if necessary.


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