Staffordshire digger maker JCB is set to reduce production levels at its UK sites.
The firm is expecting the coronavirus outbreak to affect the supply of components from Chinese suppliers.
The move will mean a shorter working week for around 4,000 JCB and agency shop floor employees from Monday (17 February).
All overtime has already been suspended.
All shop floor employees will be working a 34-hour week until further notice. JCB employees will be paid for a 39-hour week and will bank the hours, working them back later in the year.
The announcement follows discussions with the GMB union.
JCB Chief Operating Officer Mark Turner said: “The disruption to the component supply chain in the UK comes at a time when demand for JCB products is very strong, so while this course of action is very unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary to protect the business and our skill base.
“Production in the UK has so far been unaffected by the situation in China. However, more than 25 per cent of JCB’s suppliers in China remain closed and those that have reopened are working at reduced capacity and are struggling to make shipments. It is therefore clear that the inbound supply of certain components from Chinese partners will be disrupted in the coming weeks as they seek to replenish their stocks.
"This inevitably means we will not have the required amount of parts needed to build our forecast number of machines in the short term.
“These measures will ensure that, while we will produce machines in lower than anticipated numbers, we will do so with the same number of employees, whose skills we will need to fulfil customers’ orders when the situation returns to normal.
"We are keeping the situation under review and we anticipate a surge in production levels once this period of supply disruption has passed.”