The job losses represent more than a fifth of its total UK workforce of 6,700.
JCB said that the move has been made necessary by a 50% fall in global demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company wrote to UK employees on Friday warning that up to 950 staff roles are under threat at its 10 plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham. A 45-day consultation period begins today (Monday). Around 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at JCB’s UK sites, are also being released from the business.
Most employees are currently at home on furlough until the end of May.
JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: “In 2020 we had planned to sell and produce over 100,000 machines. With so much global uncertainty, that figure right now is looking more like 50,000 machines. In the UK, around 85% of everything we manufacture is exported and our UK factories will now produce machines at half the rate we had planned just a few months ago. As a result, we have no choice but to align our cost base to demand for the rest of the year.
“It is deeply regrettable that we have had to take these steps to restructure the business and that it will have an impact on so many people. No business could have anticipated the scale of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic consequences. JCB has had to act quickly for the long-term survival of the business, which has been at the heart of our decision-making throughout this difficult period.”
Union organiser Stuart Harrison from the GMB said: “This announcement is devastating to everyone involved. As the recognised union, GMB’s senior representatives have entered into urgent talks about the future of the business with management. We will keep fighting to avoid job losses at all costs, for our members and their families.”