Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

JCB announces 400 more job cuts

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The firm has blamed a "significant" reduction in incoming orders

Digger-maker JCB has said it is cutting nearly 400 more jobs.

The redundancies, made up of 297 shop floor jobs and 101 staff posts, are being blamed on "extreme deterioration in business levels and confidence".

The news came as truck-maker Leyland announced it is to cut 250 job at its factory in Lancashire.

Last month JCB, based in Rocester, Staffordshire, said it needed to reduce its UK shop floor workforce by 510, but that figure was cut to less than 200.

Fewer job losses were agreed after GMB union members voted in favour of a shorter and lower-paid working week.

About 2,500 members in the UK accepted a 34-hour week by a two-thirds majority.

The level of business we are doing out in the markets right around the world has dropped very dramatically
JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor

The latest cuts have come as JCB said it was reducing production at its UK factories by 34% for the last two months of the year.

The revised output levels will be maintained into the first quarter of 2009.

The company said that the latest cuts had been made because of reduced confidence leading to a "significant reduction in incoming orders".

The company said previously-buoyant markets had been particularly affected, including those in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.

JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor said: "The level of business we are doing out in the markets right around the world has dropped very dramatically after the torrid financial times in September."

Union members briefed

When asked if there would be any more redundancies in the future, he replied: "Not at the current level of business.

"If it gets even worse than that then, at the end of the day, we will have to take another hard look at that."

JCB explained that it had chosen to keep on 336 shop floor employees, who would otherwise have been at risk of redundancy as a result of the reduced production levels in the first quarter of 2009.

The company also said it reciprocated the support shown by employees in voting for a 34-hour week to save colleagues' jobs.

Keith Hodgson, from the GMB union, said: "Members are being briefed and we will release a further statement in the morning."

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