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COVID-19: JCB reach agreement with GMB union

Mark Turner

Employees set to vote on new working arrangements to safeguard more than 900 shop-floor jobs

JCB have reached agreement with the GMB union on a new working pattern that is designed to safeguard up to 915 hourly-paid shop-floor positions across their UK operations.

The company confirmed it had successfully concluded negotiations with the GMB over more flexible working arrangements for shop-floor employees as the anticipated disruption caused by the pandemic continues in the coming months.

The move will protect the jobs of up to 915 shop-floor employees but does not affect the planned 950 salaried staff redundancies announced last week.

A ballot of GMB members is to be held next week on the new temporary collective agreement at JCB’s factories in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham, with the result expected on Friday 29 May. GMB members will cast their vote in person at JCB sites.

The announcement comes as JCB resume production at UK factories where more than 2,000 employees have now returned to work.

JCB’s chief operating officer, Mark Turner (pictured), said: ‘We have held very constructive discussions with the GMB. It is very pleasing that we have found a way forward on production flexibility because we expect disruption from the COVID-19 crisis to continue until at least the end of this year.’

Among the proposals GMB members are being asked to vote on is the introduction of a system of banking hours and extending shift patterns to include earlier starts and later finish times. Employees will also be guaranteed 39 hours’ basic contractual pay in any one week.

The GMB is strongly recommending that its members vote in favour of the new arrangements. JCB and the union will review the agreement no later than 31 December 2020 and may extend it for a further period.

In 2020 JCB had planned to sell and produce more than 100,000 machines but production is now expected to be around 50,000. JCB currently employs around 6,700 people in the UK.

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