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Up to 950 jobs are at risk of redundancy at JCB’s UK plants after it said demand had fallen by half as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

JCB has written to its UK employees to advise up to 950 staff roles are under threat at its 10 plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham in north Wales.

A 45-day consultation period will begin on Monday, the firm said.

The GMB union said the announcement was “devastating to everyone involved.” About 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at UK sites, are also being released from the business.

JCB said the jobs were at risk “as a result of the severe disruption caused to JCB’s business by the Covid-19 crisis, which will see annual production halved”.

Chief executive Graeme Macdonald said the decision to restructure JCB’s business had been extremely tough but the company “had no choice but to take difficult decisions to adapt to this new economic reality”.

JCB currently employs about 6,700 people in the UK, including agency employees. The consultation will begin on Monday when discussions with staff representatives will start.

The vast majority of JCB’s employees are currently furloughed until the end of May after production at its UK factories stopped in March. However, about 400 workers returned to production roles on Monday at its headquarters in Rocester.

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