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Employees at manufacturing firm JCB have voted to work shorter hours for the next three months to save threatened jobs.

The company had warned of up to 290 redundancies because of a “rapid deterioration” in world construction equipment markets, although this was reduced to 235 after consultations with the GMB union.

A flexible working pattern has been agreed until the end of February which will save more than 100 jobs.

JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: “Our shop floor colleagues are to be applauded for their actions. JCB and the GMB were determined to do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies through a combination of voluntary redundancies, early retirements and flexible working.

“It highlights a great team spirit at JCB and also means we can retain some vitally important skills.”

GMB works convenor Gordon Richardson said: “Our members are to be congratulated. It’s a magnanimous act which is in the spirit of the approaching festive season and means that over 100 people who were under threat of compulsory redundancy will now have a much happier Christmas.”

The flexible working pattern will operate at JCB’s head office in Rocester, Staffordshire, and sites in Uttoxeter, Rugeley and Wrexham.

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