JCB staff celebrate after receiving Christmas bonus and rise in salary
STAFF at digger manufacturer JCB have been given a double dose of festive cheer after being awarded a £500 Christmas bonus and an inflation-matching pay rise.
The Rocester-based firm will give each of its 5,000 UK staff at factories in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Wrexham a share of the payout, which is worth more than £2.5 million.
JCB also confirmed its staff would receive a 3% pay rise from January 1, which is linked to November's Retail Price Index.
The company said the payouts were a reward for the continued hard work of its workforce, following another successful year.
For the past couple of years, JCB has been back on the rise after being hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.
When the downturn struck, the construction sector was hit hard, which resulted in a deep and sudden fall in demand for its machines.
JCB's workforce stood at 5,600 before the recession but it shed about 1,500 jobs as the downturn took hold.
But in 2010, the company bounced back as sales rose by 48%, resulting in the reinstatement of Christmas bonuses.
In 2011, sales grew by 30% and, earlier this year, the turnaround of the company was cemented when JCB announced record sales of £2.75 billion and profits of £355 million.
Yesterday, staff at the firm's headquarters in Rocester expressed their delight at the payouts.
Among them was Anna Mackenberg, of Doveridge, an international human resources administrator who joined in February.
She had another reason to celebrate as the pay announcement coincided with her 31st birthday. She said: "The bonus is a great birthday present.
"I'm originally from Germany and I will be travelling back for Christmas, so I think I will be using some of the money to treat my family to a meal out.
"This is the first time I've received a bonus from JCB. It's a really nice gesture."
Welder Tim Willmore, 35, who has worked at JCB for 19 years, said: "When we heard about the news of the bonus, there was a real buzz about the place.
"We have had bonuses in previous years but we never take them for granted. The business does not have to give them to us.
"But it is nice that they recognise our contribution and it motivates us to continue working hard."
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: "JCB has performed well in 2012.
"We had a strong start to the year, although it has become a lot tougher in recent months."
Chief executive Alan Blake said: "When JCB is doing well, Sir Anthony is always very keen to share its success with employees.
"The Christmas bonus is a reward for the efforts of the workforce this year.
"We know that our workforce has to deal with rising prices which is why we have also given them a rise in line with inflation."
JCB is not the only firm to give their staff a generous Christmas bonus.
Ashbourne firm MasterMover gave each one of its 40 staff £1,500.
The company, based on the Airfield Industrial Estate, makes machines called pedestrian-operated tugs, which are used to move heavy goods.
This year, it has seen its turnover grow by 45% to £6 million – a performance driven by sales overseas.