Coronavirus: JCB extends suspension of UK tractor production

The global coronavirus pandemic has caused a major reduction in demand for agri machinery
The global coronavirus pandemic has caused a major reduction in demand for agri machinery

JCB has announced it will extend its suspension of UK tractor production until 'at least the end of April' as a result of the spread of Covid-19.

The firm’s nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham closed on 18 March due to disruption resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The crisis has caused an unprecedented reduction in global demand for machinery.

At that stage, only shop floor employees were affected by the move and were paid in full during this period, while office staff continued to work a 39-hour week from home.

The news of today’s extended shutdown will mean that the vast majority of JCB’s 6,500 workforce will now be asked to stop working until at least the end of April.

During this period, all affected employees will be paid 80% of their basic pay. Senior JCB Directors will not be taking a salary from the company until further notice.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “These are certainly unprecedented times and none of us expected to find ourselves in this situation.

"In announcing that all those JCB colleagues asked not to work will receive 80% of their pay, we hope to remove any financial concerns that many people will undoubtedly have had.”

JCB also intends to make an application to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help offset the cost of its support of employees during this challenging period.

The scheme is designed to support employers in continuing to pay part of employees’ salaries, for employees who would otherwise have been laid off.

The government scheme pays 80% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

In devising its scheme, JCB has set no cap and will pay 80% of each affected employee’s pay.