Ratan Tata gets UK managers to work, on holiday | business | Hindustan Times
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Ratan Tata gets UK managers to work, on holiday

As all of Britain took time off work and study on Monday — a bank holiday — some people were hard at work. Senior executives at the Birmingham-based Jaguar Land Rover were in a meeting with their Indian bosses. Dipankar De Sarkar reports.

business Updated: May 31, 2011 01:13 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

As all of Britain took time off work and study on Monday — a bank holiday — some people were hard at work. Senior executives at the Birmingham-based Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) were in a meeting with their Indian bosses.

The two-day meeting was called by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata much before last week’s newspaper interview in which he was critical of the British executives for being used to an easy work culture — when compared to the “war-like situation” faced by Indian managers. Tata later said he was misquoted.

A spokesman for Tata Motors, which owns JLR, would not say what the meeting was about. “We have no comments to offer about this meeting which Mr Tata has called in England,” said the spokesperson, who was in Portugal on work.

It’s rare for Britons to work on bank holidays — public days off that have been a treasured tradition since 1871. But with the country facing huge public sector cuts and worst recession since the 1930s, businesses have been forced to think the unthinkable.

“It’s highly unusual for business managers to meet on a bank holiday,” said Alun Thorne, editor of the Birmingham Post. “But with JLR having announced £1.3 bn profits, I don’t think anyone here would be indignant about what Ratan Tata said.” “Everyone knows that something needs to change.”