JCB to cut 500 UK jobs as downturn bites

UK digger group JCB to shed hundreds of jobs amid downturn

More than 500 jobs are being axed at UK digger group JCB as the firm seeks to cut costs after a "rapid decline" in business.

The Staffordshire-based firm said the positions were expected to go across its manufacturing workforce.

All of JCB's UK factories will be affected by the job losses, hitting staff at eight factories in Staffordshire, two in Wrexham and one in Derbyshire.

The 500 manufacturing job cuts account for 8 per cent of JCB's UK total employee base, but it added that a number of office-based staff positions are also facing the axe.

It said details of the further redundancies were still being worked out.

JCB said orders had plummeted, leaving its forecast production schedule for the rest of the year down by 20 per cent.

The privately-owned firm warned last month that sales growth was under pressure as the credit crunch slowed construction demand this year.

Matthew Taylor, group chief executive, said: "Our products are used mostly in the construction sector, which has been badly affected by the global credit crisis and rising raw material costs.

"Many JCB dealers around the world are experiencing lower sales rates because of reduced customer activity, mainly in the house building and commercial property sectors, and this has a direct impact on our machine build programme."

The group is seeing some continued growth in emerging markets, such as Russia, Brazil and the Middle East, but it said this is not enough to offset the declines elsewhere and does not expect to see a recovery until late 2009 at the earliest.

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