A £1,500 Christmas cracker: Generous bosses at MasterMover hand staff surprise bonus
STAFF at a Derbyshire company went into a meeting with bosses fearing the sack – only to be told: "We're giving you all a £1,500 Christmas bonus."
Employees at warehouse equipment maker MasterMover were apprehensive when they were called together.
Gareth Nash, 32, is a team leader on the shop floor at MasterMover, where he has worked for the last four years.
He said: "When they called us together I thought we were all in trouble! So, when they announced the bonus, emotionally I went from one end of the scale to the other."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Each one of MasterMover's 40 staff is to receive the bonus after the Ashbourne company enjoyed a stellar year.
The company, based on the Airfield Industrial Estate, makes electric-powered handling machines, known as pedestrian-operated tugs, which are used to move heavy goods around.
This year, it has seen its turnover grow by 45% to £6 million – a performance which has been driven by strong sales overseas.
The company first started to focus on exports in 2007. Today, overseas markets account for 50% of the company's sales, with Australia and South America seeing particularly strong growth.
For Gareth, the Christmas pay boost could not have come at a better time. He has just bought his first house with wife Meera, whom he married last year.
He said: "Our folks helped us out big-time with the deposit so I want to use the money to help pay them back."
David Wood, 28, a senior applications designer, said he would be using his bonus to make his New Year celebrations on a New York break with his girlfriend extra special.
"It was going to be a memorable trip – but it should be even more memorable now thanks to the company.
"I'm really grateful. We have all worked really hard this year but that doesn't necessarily entitle you to a bonus because everyone works hard.
"It's just a great morale booster and has inspired us to work even harder next year."
For Alan Baverstock, a welder/fabricator, who has worked at MasterMover since the firm was founded in 1997, the Christmas bonus is a perfect retirement gift.
The 65-year-old, who is married to Carol and has two daughters and five grandchildren, is due to retire in two weeks.
He said: "I think it's a brilliant thing for the company to do. Today, the firm is doing better than it has ever done and it's nice that they have decided to share that success with the workers.
"As far as the money is concerned, every year one of my daughters books a holiday in the sun for all the family – so I reckon I'm going to put my bonus towards that."
Sales and export coordinator Laura Archer, 22, of Ashbourne, who has worked at the firm for five years, said: "The bonus has come as a nice surprise. A part of me thinks I should save it for a rainy day but I think my family can expect a slighter bigger Christmas present this year!"
Kate Oakden, 24, of Ashbourne, who has worked at MasterMover for two years, was not at work when the announcement was made.
She said: "I was actually Christmas shopping at the time. I received a text from a person I work with to tell me that we were all getting a £1,500 bonus. I sent a text back telling him to stop winding me up!
"It's an amazing gesture by the company. I don't think I will blow it all at Christmas. I ride horses and take part in events, which sometimes involves overnight stays. So, I think I'm going to put the money towards that."
Managing director Andy Owen said: "It is a great feeling to be able to reward our staff. They have worked incredibly hard ever since we made a real push to boost exports five years ago.
"It put the company and them under a lot of pressure at the time but we are now reaping the dividends and it is only right that they have a share of that success because they have earned it.
"And we wanted to make sure that every member of staff got the same bonus because every one of them is crucial to the successful operation of this business."
Mr Owen said the firm's focus on exports had moved the business on to a different level. He said: "The key to our success has been to not just provide the machines but to also explain how they can be implemented into the operations of a company and work with them to do that.
"Today, we are living in a global market thanks to the internet. We worked hard to build up our exports, without taking our eye off the UK market. Having a solid, highly skilled team of workers is also crucial to our success. We have been able to attract some very talented people from the local area – and we are continuing to look for the right kind of people."
Before joining MasterMover a decade ago, Mr Owen worked for digger manufacturer JCB, which itself last year gave out a £500 Christmas bonus. It is not yet known whether the company, which has a factory at Foston, will be issuing a bonus this Christmas.
*HOW GENEROUS IS YOUR COMPANY? Have you been given a Christmas bonus this year? Have been told you can expect one? Let us know using the comments facility below - and don't forget to say where you work.