JCB employees to vote on new working arrangements to protect jobs

JCB has announced it has reached agreement with the GMB union on a new working pattern designed to safeguard up to 915 hourly-paid shop floor positions in the UK.

The manufacturer has concluded negotiations with the GMB over more flexible working arrangements for shop floor employees as the anticipated disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic continues in the coming months.

JCB revealed the move will protect the jobs of up to 915 employees but does not affect the planned 950 salaried staff redundancies announced last week.

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.

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

JCB 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.”

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.

Stuart Harrison, GMB organiser said, “GMB senior representatives have been working with JCB throughout the crisis to protect the jobs of our members. Our new agreement provides flexibility to the company, through a Working Time Arrangement and achieves our sole objective of avoiding compulsory redundancies. We’ve worked hard to avoid job losses here and are very grateful to all our members for working together to secure their future with JCB.”