Coronavirus hits JCB component supply as production reduced


Fears of the coronavirus is impacting JCB workers as their working week is cut short in UK factories due to a lack of component parts arriving from China

Workers at JCB’s UK factories face a shorter working week due to fears that the coronavirus will have a huge impact on component parts arriving in from China. Production levels at UK factories are being reduced as 4000 JCB workers and agency shop floor employees have their hours cut from Monday, 17 February.

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All overtime has also been suspended. The measures have been discussed with the GMB union and will see the introduction of a 34-hour week for UK production employees until further notice. JCB employees will be paid for a 39-hour week and will bank the hours, working them back later in the year.

"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," says JCB chief operating officer Mark Turner.

"Production in the UK has so far been unaffected by the situation in China. However, more than 25% of JCB’s suppliers in China remain closed and those that have reopened are working at reduced capacity and are struggling to make shipments.

"It is therefore clear that the inbound supply of certain components from Chinese partners will be disrupted in the coming weeks as they seek to replenish their stocks.

"This inevitably means we will not have the required amount of parts needed to build our forecast number of machines in the short term." Turner emphasised that production would continue with the same number of employees, albeit in lower numbers of machines on the lines.

"These measures will ensure that, while we will produce machines in lower than anticipated numbers, we will do so with the same number of employees, whose skills we will need to fulfil customers’ orders when the situation returns to normal. "We are keeping the situation under review and we anticipate a surge in production levels once this period of supply disruption has passed," he says.

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