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COVID-19: JCB jobs cuts planned as demand falls by half


Up to 950 staff roles and 500 agency places under threat after COVID-19 crisis halves global demand

JCB have announced that up to 950 jobs are at risk of redundancy at their UK plants after demand for their machines fell by half as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

On Friday, the company wrote to UK employees to advise that up to 950 staff roles are under threat at its 10 plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham and that a 45-day consultation period will begin today (18 May).

Around 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at JCB’s UK sites, are also being released from the business.

The job losses have been announced as a result of the severe disruption caused to the company’s business by the COVID-19 crisis, which will see annual production halved.

JCB said the decision to restructure the business had been extremely tough but that they had no choice but to take difficult decisions to adapt to this new economic reality.

JCB’s chief executive officer, Graeme Macdonald, said: ‘In 2020 we had planned to sell and produce more than 100,000 machines. With so much global uncertainty, that figure right now is looking more like 50,000 machines.

‘In the UK, around 85% of everything we manufacture is exported and our UK factories will now produce machines at half the rate we had planned just a few months ago. As a result, we have no choice but to align our cost base to demand for the rest of the year.

‘It is deeply regrettable that we have had to take these steps to restructure the business and that it will have an impact on so many people. No business could have anticipated the scale of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic consequences.

‘We have had to act quickly for the long-term survival of the business, which has been at the heart of our decision-making throughout this difficult period.’

JCB currently employ around 6,700 people in the UK, including agency employees.

The 45-day consultation over the proposed JCB job losses begins today, when discussions with staff representatives will start.

The vast majority of JCB’s employees are currently furloughed until the end of May after production at UK factories stopped in March in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Macdonald added: ‘The Government’s taxpayer-funded Job Retention Scheme, which was a temporary measure that has seen most UK employees furloughed since the beginning of April, was never going to be capable of sustaining employment at companies having to face such reduced levels of demand.’

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