JCB cuts working hours for 4,000 UK employees as coronavirus hits suppliers

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JCB said more than a quarter of its suppliers in China were closed

JCB has become the first big UK manufacturer to cut production as a result of the coronavirus outbreak hitting suppliers in China.

The decision will mean a shorter working week for around 4,000 employees at the digger maker from next Monday as well as an immediate suspension of overtime.

JCB said it was taking the decision as more than a quarter of its suppliers in China remained closed while those that had reopened were operating at reduced capacity and struggling to make shipments.

It illustrates the widening impact of the outbreak on the global economy, having already resulted in widespread factory closures in China and car factory stoppages in Japan and South Korea due to supply issues.

JCB’s measures will see the introduction of a 34-hour working week for JCB and agency shop floor employees “until further notice”.

Those employed directly by JCB will be paid for a 39-hour week and bank the hours to work them back later in the year.

Chief operating officer Mark Turner said: “The disruption to the component supply chain in the UK comes at a time when demand for JCB products is very strong, so while this course of action is very unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary to protect the business and our skill base.”

Article -Sky News/IRN