1615: JCB extends factory shutdown

JCB is suspending UK production until at least the end of April as a result of the coronavirus crisis and will continue to pay employees unable to work, the company announced today.

The firm’s nine manufacturing plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham closed on March 18th as disruption resulting from the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented reduction in global demand.

At that stage, only shop floor employees were affected by the move and were paid in full during this period, while office staff continued to work a 39-hour week from home. However, today's news will mean that vast majority of the company's 6,500-strong workforce will be required to stop working until the plants reopen, They will all be paid 80% of their wages, while senior JCB directors will not be taking a salary from the company during this time.

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1200: Berry Global provides protection materials across Europe

Berry Global, one of the world's largest suppliers of plastic packaging and non-woven fabrics, has diversified its product offering to supply vital protective equipment to healthcare workers across Europe. These products range in use from healthcare materials to packages for food preservation, many of which have seen a demand surge in the fight against COVID-19. These critical materials include non-woven fabrics for face masks, N95 respirators, disinfectant wipes, and protective apparel.

“We make products essential in the fight against COVID-19. As such, we are running our packaging and nonwoven manufacturing lines around the clock and prioritizing production to combat COVID-19,” said Jean-Marc Galvez, President of Consumer Packaging International division for Berry. “We are evaluating our capacity to ensure the most beneficial products are being manufactured and shifting production accordingly.”

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1100: MTA publishes Covid-19 guidance for members

The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has published advice for its members on how to cope with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, in particular with regards to how manufacturers should adapt to incorporate social distancing measures while staying open.

The full guidance can be found on the MTA's website at https://www.mta.org.uk/news/press-release/covid-19-advice.