Instead JCB has reached a deal with the GMB union on a new working pattern designed to safeguard the hourly-paid shop floor positions.
But while the agreement to introduce more flexible working arrangements will protect the jobs of up to 915 shop floor employees, it does not affect the planned 950 salaried staff redundancies announced last Friday. [See our previous report here.]
Now 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 with the result expected on Friday 29th May. GMB members will have to turn up at work and cast their vote in person at JCB sites.
Currently only about 2,000 of JCB’s 6,700 workforce has returned to work, as production has resumed on a restricted basis. In 2020 JCB had planned to sell and produce more than 100,000 machines but production is now expected to be around 50,000.
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.
The GMB is recommending that its members vote in favour of the new arrangements.
JCB and the GMB will review the agreement before the end of the year and may extend it for a further period.
GMB said that it was a temporary agreement that would “offer great job security throughout the period of instability resulting from of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
GMB organiser Stuart Harrison 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.”
He added: “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.”
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.”