JCB has announced about 950 jobs are at risk of redundancy as demand for the manufacturer’s machines has fallen by half as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
The move comes in spite of the firm’s recent decision to reopen production ‘at low levels’ and with social-distancing measures introduced across five locations, which saw 400 employees return to work to satisfy the demand for agricultural machinery.
Job losses will spread across its plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham in North Wales and some 500 agency employees sourced through recruiter Guidant are also being released from the business.
Despite many JCB employees working hard to boost the country’s valuable reserve of personal protective equipment (PPE) via the set up of mini production lines, chief executive Graeme Macdonald said the firm ‘had no choice but to take difficult decisions to adapt to this new economic reality.’
He said: “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.”
JCB currently employs around 6,700 people in the UK, including agency employees, the majority of which have been furloughed after production at the factories halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Macdonald added: “JCB has 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.”