WREXHAM’S JCB factory is to axe another 58 jobs as it struggles to cope with the economic downturn.
The cuts are being made at JCB Transmissions, based on Wrexham Industrial Estate, as part of 684 redundancies announced across the JCB group.
The company blamed the decision on “the lack of credit available from banks to fund machine purchases and continuing low confidence.”
The twin site, which employs more than 400 people, makes transmissions systems and axles for JCB diggers and other vehicles.
The latest job losses affect 593 shopfloor and 91 staff positions across the JCB Group and are in addition to 1,000 redundancies announced since July, of which 164 were in Wrexham.
JCB said production in the UK in the first three months of 2009 will be around 75% lower than at the same time last year and an anticipated upturn in the second quarter now shows no sign of materialising.
JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor said: “Back in November, we forecast a moderate second quarter recovery in 2009 based on the fact governments around the world had pumped a huge amount of money into recapitalising financial institutions and had committed to stimulus packages which included significant spending on public construction projects.
“Two months later, despite the recapitalisation, customers are still struggling to buy machines because of a lack of available credit. And with Government-funded construction projects not moving forward quickly enough, this means the anticipated second quarter recovery simply won’t happen.
“The ongoing reluctance of the banks to provide credit is aggravating an economic downturn which is now becoming much steeper than we could have ever envisaged.
“This unprecedented situation needs to be addressed with some urgency so confidence and stability can return; otherwise irreparable damage will be caused to the UK’s manufacturing industry.”
In October, GMB members voted for a shorter, 34-hour working week, a move which continues to protect a further 332 shopfloor jobs. Last week – when there was no production at JCB – the company undertook its biggest ever training initiative in its history, with more than 2,000 employees completing a programme which will result in achievement of NVQ and City and Guilds qualifications.
Wrexham Labour AM Lesley Griffiths said: “The continued reluctance of banks to provide credit to JCB’s customers is of serious concern to me. I will be raising this matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer as soon as possible.
“I have met JCB management and GMB officials in recent weeks and I will again be meeting union representatives tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the ongoing situation.”