Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Nearly 700 more job losses at JCB

JCB logo
The firm said business was down 75% on the same period last year

JCB is to make a further 684 people redundant across its UK factories.

The job losses at the Staffordshire-based firm come in addition to 1,000 jobs cuts made last year.

Company officials said that a lack of available credit from banks meant its customers had been unable to afford new diggers and other equipment.

The company said its total business was down 75% on the same period last year. In October staff voted for a shorter 34-hour week to protect jobs.

'Unprecedented situation'

JCB said its Staffordshire plants, including the company's headquarters in Rocester, JCB Cab Systems in Rugeley and Uttoxeter-based JCB Heavy Products would be affected.

Jobs are also to go at JCB Earthmovers, Cecilly Mills, and JCB Compact Products, which are all based in Cheadle.

A spokesman said JCB Transmissions, based in Wrexham, North Wales, and JCB Power Systems, in Derbyshire, would also be affected.

Chief executive Matthew Taylor said there had been no sign business would pick up soon for the company.

"The ongoing reluctance of the banks to provide credit is aggravating an economic downturn which is now becoming much steeper than we could have ever envisaged," he said.

Our members have done everything possible, including sharing the misery, to try to avoid further job losses
Joe Morgan, GMB regional officer

"This unprecedented situation needs to be addressed with some urgency so that confidence and stability can return, otherwise irreparable damage will be caused to the UK's manufacturing industry."

The worst-hit site will be the company's biggest plant, in Rocester, where 400 jobs will be lost.

At the Wrexham base, where 164 jobs were shed in 2008, 58 staff will be made redundant, the company said.

The latest job losses will affect 593 shop-floor and 91 staff positions across the group.

Members of the GMB union voted in October for a shorter week, a move which the company said would still protect a further 332 shop-floor positions.

Joe Morgan, regional officer of the GMB, said he was "very disappointed" by JCB's decision.

"Our members have done everything possible, including sharing the misery, to try to avoid further job losses," he added.

"We will be seeking talks with JCB to minimise the job cuts."

JCB employs about 4,800 people in the UK, with 4,300 workers based in Staffordshire.

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