News story

COVID-19 impact: UK

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ( #967 ) - United Kingdom
The UK government has recognised the role of supply chains
The UK government has recognised the role of supply chains
The Fork Lift Truck Association has welcomed government recognition for logistics and supply chain workers as key workers.

James Clark, secretary-general of the British Truck Association, says: "In these challenging times, we are pleased that the government has recognised that everyone working to keep essential supply chains open is a critical key worker.

"Workers across the whole logistics industry, including those that maintain the safe operation of forklift trucks, are an essential part of our country's efforts to keep people fed and combat this deadly virus."

The FLTA says it will continue to support its members by providing "continuous, uninterrupted supply of goods and services".

Meanwhile, JCB has stopped production at all of its UK manufacturing plants as disruption resulting from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic causes an unprecedented reduction in global demand.

JCB is suspending UK production until at least the end of April and will continue to pay employees unable to work.

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.

The news of today's extended shutdown will mean that the vast majority of JCB's 6,500 workforce will now be asked to stop working until at least the end of April. During this period, all affected JCB employees will be paid 80% of their basic pay. Senior JCB directors will not be taking a salary from the company until further notice.

For Toyota Material Handling UK, it's business as usual "with reduced face-to-face interaction and a high degree of readiness to respond, as needed, to change", according to a company statement.

"Our customer-facing teams and service teams are all being fully appraised of the very latest information on the prevention, symptoms and health service recommendations in regard to coronavirus. TMHUK have established a coronavirus business continuity group and a clear plan to continually monitor and sensibly react to evolving customer needs, workplace infection and government advice on this topic."

Toyota says, in line with government advice, it has taken vigorous steps to allow all possible departments to function with team members working entirely from home and, consequently, has rapidly upgraded its mobile IT infrastructure. "Where remote working is not feasible, we have taken all possible measures to limit exposure and to maximise the safety of our team."

The TMHUK service team is continuing to provide essential preventative maintenance and breakdown repair as normal.

In the light of the evolving coronavirus situation, the UK Warehouse Association (UKWA) has announced that its flagship Annual Lunch & Awards will be postponed until 10 November 2020.

The event, originally planned for 25 June, will still be held at The Dorchester Hotel in London.

The deadline for award entries has been extended to 31 July, and finalists will be announced in September.

Separately, organisers have postponed the SHD Logistics Conference, which will now take place on 30 September 2020. The Logistics Awards 2020 will take place as originally scheduled on 16 September 2020.

Multimodal 2020, scheduled for 16-18 June at the NEC Birmingham, has been postponed to 4-6 November, "after consultation with stakeholders over the last few days", according to organisers.

"Despite strong support from our stakeholders, the increasing level of uncertainty, travel bans and individual concerns due to coronavirus mean that we would not be able to deliver the show that we expected to deliver," a spokesperson says.

Now in its 13th year, Multimodal brings together key players in freight transport, logistics and supply chain management.
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