Dozens of JCB employees are returning to the factory floor – to help with the national coronavirus relief effort.
Around 50 of them are set to return to work at the company’s Uttoxeter factory within days to make steel parts to be fitted to models of a ventilator being designed by Dyson.
The £50 million factory normally makes cabs for JCB diggers. But it will now see steel housings rolling off the production line.
The returning staff will receive their normal JCB wage.
It comes almost two weeks after the closure of the Uttoxeter factory and follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s direct appeal for JCB to help plug the national ventilator shortage.
A research and engineering team was set up to see how JCB could help and the first prototypes of the steel housing have been sent to Dyson. The proposed Dyson ventilator is still waiting for regulatory approval.
It is hoped that mass production of the housings can start within days. At least 10,000 of them are set to be manufactured.
JCB chairman Lord Bamford said: “When we were approached by the Prime Minister we were determined, as a British company, to help in any way we could.
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“This project has gone from design to production in just a matter of days and I am delighted that we have been able to deploy the skills of our talented engineering, design and fabrication teams so quickly at a time of national crisis
“This is also a global crisis, of course, and we will naturally help with the production of more housings if these ventilators are eventually required by other countries.”
JCB extended its company shutdown last week. It means production has been suspended at its nine UK plants until at least the end of April. The majority of JCB’s 6,500 workforce will receive 80 per cent of their basic pay for the next month.
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