Union bosses and business leaders have pledged their support to nearly 1,500 workers who are set to be affected by major job cuts at JCB.
The digger-maker announced earlier today that it is looking to axe 950 jobs from its 10 UK factories – and a further 500 agency staff.
The move comes after the coronavirus resulted in demand for JCB machines falling by half.
The GMB Union says it will ‘keep fighting to avoid job losses at all costs.’
Stuart Harrison, GMB Organiser said: “This announcement is devastating to everyone involved.
“As the recognised union, GMB’s senior representatives have entered into urgent talks about the future of the business with management.
“We will keep fighting to avoid job losses at all costs, for our members and their families. “
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “JCB is one of Staffordshire’s flagship companies and one of our major employers.
“This news is devastating for all employees concerned and their families.”
He added: “While we await the detail, we will do all we can, working with our partners such as Jobcentre Plus, the local enterprise partnership and our district and borough councils to ensure all the support is there at this difficult time.
“We recently set up our redundancy and recruitment triage service to help get people back into work or gain new skills as quickly as possible.
“The impact of coronavirus in such a short time on our businesses and communities is unprecedented. Businesses are having to make incredibly difficult decisions to maintain their long-term sustainability.
“Our priority as a county council is to protect and support our residents and businesses. We’re urging people to contact the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub for more information.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Alun Rogers said: “Our priority at the LEP is to support our businesses and communities.
“This is dreadful news for those employees affected and their families and they can be assured we will do all we can to support them at this difficult time.
“Since the current crisis started, we have been working hard with our partners to put in place support initiatives such as our redundancy and recruitment triage service as well as signposting people to central government and local authority schemes.
“We know that businesses across sectors are struggling through this time, however these announcements still come as a shock to everyone affected. We would like to assure people that our task force is planning our recovery from this crisis and that we are here to respond to concerns from employees and businesses.”
For more information visit www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk or call 0300 111 8002.