JCB to lay off nearly 300 workers

Digger manufacturer JCB is set to cut 290 jobs following a slowdown in the construction equipment market.

The slowdown, which started in the summer, has resulted in a big fall in machine orders from customers. Trade union GMB is now consulting with the firm over the proposed job losses.

The news follows an announcement in September that up to 400 UK staff positions were at risk of redundancy as a result of the economic situation. Consultations over those redundancies continue.

In the first six months of the year, the market in Russia has dropped by 70 per cent, Brazil by 36 per cent and China by 47 per cent. Parts of Europe are also struggling, with France down by 26 per cent.

Even the strong growth in the UK and North America has softened due to a fall in market confidence over the summer, which has been prompted to an extent by low oil and commodity prices in countries which depend on these resources to drive economic growth.

Gordon Richardson, GMB works convenor for JCB, said: "This news is obviously very disappointing but it has been apparent now for some time that global markets have been declining.

"Our job as a trade union is to now work hard to formulate a plan to mitigate the impact of the proposed redundancies."

Graeme Macdonald, JCB chief executive, said: "Manufacturers in the construction equipment industry are currently facing very tough trading conditions and we have to react to the current market reality to protect the long-term future of the business.

"Regrettably this means taking the very difficult decision to reduce the number of shop floor positions by up to 290 across the UK. As the global economy shows no sign of improving, the short-term outlook remains very challenging."

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