Peterborough’s Perkins Engines extends its shutdown to three weeks

Peterborough engineering giant Perkins Engines has announced a three week shutdown of its operations

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 5:20 pm
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The iconic company, based in Eastern Industry, has extended its original temporary suspension of operations by a week.

It means the company’s shutdown will take place from tomorrow through to April 24.

An unspecified number of its hourly production staff will take furlough leave during that time.

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The length of the shutdown means Perkins can take advantage of the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, under which 80 per cent of staff salaries are met but it has to be for a minimum of three weeks.

Two days ago, the engineering behemoth, which employs 2,500 people at Eastern Industry, said it would shut for two weeks with staff taking annual leave.

That move sparked an angry response from some staff and prompted Peterborough MP Paul Bristow to raise the issue with the Government’s business minister and to make an impassioned plea for the company to end the uncertainty for its employees.

In a statement today, Perkins announced: “While a number of governments around the world have classified Perkins operations as essential activity, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on global economic conditions.

“We are taking a variety of actions at our global facilities to reduce production due to weaker customer demand, potential supply constraints and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government actions.

“These actions include the temporary suspension of our Peterborough facility’s operations starting April 2, 2020 through to April 24, 2020.

“Operations should resume on Monday April 27, 2020.

“Hourly production employees will now be furloughed in line with the UK Government Job Retention Scheme for this entire period.

It adds: “Employees that can work from home must continue to do so if their role is not directly related to production.

“A small number of essential activities on site will continue to operate at this time.”

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said: “While we are all sorry to see production cease, I welcome the news that Perkins Engines will furlough workers during their shutdown.

“This gives their production employees in Peterborough security, because the Government will fund 80% of their wages. A furloughed shutdown can also be extended beyond April, should supply and demand remain poor.

“I’m also grateful to the Business Minister for his help.

“We have a Government that responds and is helping our city during this emergency.”