JCB workers agree reduced hours to save jobs

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With global demand for construction machinery in decline, shop floor employees at JCB have voted to work shorter hours for the next three months to avoid compulsory redundancies.

This follows an announcement by JCB earlier this month that up to 290 shop floor positions were at risk of redundancy because of a rapid deterioration in world markets.

During the first stage of consultations, the number of positions at risk of redundancy reduced from 290 to 235.  To avoid compulsory redundancies, JCB and the GMB union also proposed a flexible working pattern for shop floor employees until the end of February to save more than 100 jobs. GMB members have voted in favour of the proposal after a ballot which concluded on Friday.

JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: “Our shop floor colleagues are to be applauded for their actions. JCB and the GMB were determined to do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies through a combination of voluntary redundancies, early retirements and flexible working. It highlights a great team spirit at JCB and also means we can retain some vitally important skills.”

JCB GMB works convenor Gordon Richardson said: “Our members are to be congratulated on the result of the ballot. It’s a magnanimous act which is in the spirit of the approaching festive season and means that over 100 people who were under threat of compulsory redundancy will now have a much happier Christmas.”

The flexible working pattern will operate for the next three months at JCB’s World HQ in Rocester, JCB Heavy Products in Uttoxeter, JCB Cab Systems in Rugeley and JCB Transmissions in Wrexham. The standard working week at JCB is 39 hours. The number of hours worked at each site will now vary depending on production volumes but will be 34 hours or above. Employees will have the choice of either

being paid for just the reduced hours worked or being paid for the full 39 hour week and then working back the ‘banked’ hours next year.