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25 March 2020

Bosses not workers should pay for JCB shutdown

A JCB worker

This year is the 75th anniversary of the founding of JCB. The year started with statements that the order books were the fullest for certain JCB products since their inception. Record numbers of agency workers were being recruited to cope with the increasing demand. There were plans to have big celebrations and even talk of a 750 bonus to boot.

On the 18 March all JCB UK plants shut down production. I was at home on my day off so was informed by email. Graeme Macdonald, CEO of JCB said: "This rapidly evolving situation means that demand from our customers is worsening by the hour. We fully expect further order cancellations and deferred deliveries in the coming days as customers continue to lose business confidence in this increasingly volatile environment". He went on to say: "As a team, we all need to face up to the fact that some unprecedented action will be required to maintain business continuity."

This statement was made before the government announced it would cover the wages of workers retained by companies. The statement showed what JCB were considering - to me unprecedented action reads as massive job losses.

Since this statement we have not had any further information regarding the future. JCB employs thousands of workers in the UK and abroad, and our future remains uncertain like millions of others.

We are being paid up until the 30 March, but beyond that we are still uncertain if we will continue to be paid, or if we fall into the category announced by the government.

The unions need to demand that any company planning redundancies should open up the books to the workforce and trade union inspection. Let's see where all the money has gone.

Anthony Bamford who owns JCB is one of the richest people in the midlands and is a Tory Lord. Over the years he has given millions of pounds to the Tory party. Make them pay and not us.