JCB workers to vote on new arrangements to avoid job losses

JCB has 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 its UK operations, the machinery giant has announced.

JCB confirmed the company 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, the company said.

In 2020 JCB had planned to sell and produce over 100,000 machines but production is now expected to be around 50,000.

Now 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 next Friday, May 29.

GMB members will cast their vote in person at JCB sites.

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

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 GMB will review the agreement no later than December 31, 2020, and may extend it for a further period. 

The company’s chief operating officer Mark Turner 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.

The British firm currently employs around 6,700 people in the UK.