HEAVY machinery giant JCB has warned that up to 950 jobs are at risk of redundancy at its UK plants.
It comes after demand for its products dropped by half as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the company announced today.
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JCB sent a letter to employees today, May 15, explaining that jobs are under threat at its 10 plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham.
There will now be a 45-day consultation period, starting on Monday, May 18.
Around 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at JCB's UK sites, are also being let go from the business.
JCB said the announcement follows severe disruption caused by Covid-19.
The company currently employs around 6,700 people in the UK, including agency employees.
The majority of these workers have been furloughed since April.
This is where the government covers 80 per cent of the wages of staff who are unable to work due to the coronavirus crisis.
Chief executive Graeme Macdonald said the decision had been extremely tough but the firm "had no choice but to take difficult decisions to adapt to this new economic reality".
Mr Macdonald explained how the company had planned on sell and produce over 100,000 machines in 2020.
This figure is now estimated to fall to 50,000 machines, he said.
In March this year, JCB had announced plans to use its factory in Uttoxeter to build life-saving ventilators to boost the NHS.
Factory work was temporarily suspending on March 18, with 400 members of staff returning just this week.
Workers were seen wearing gloves, face masks and visors, as well as maintaining social distancing.
Mr Macdonald added: "In the UK, around 85 per cent 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."
More to follow…
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