Brexit-backing digger tycoon Lord Bamford says that recruitment problems are ‘very positive’ for the UK and not something to worry about.
Lord Bamford made his comments at a time when his company JCB is staffing up to deliver a record order book.
Over the past 12 months JCB has recruited more than 1,200 people at its 11 UK factories in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wales and handed permanent contracts to 150 agency employees – with more to follow this year.
In 2017 JCB launched 46 new products and increased its purchasing spend globally to more than £2bn a year. Spending with the company’s 2,500 UK suppliers rose by 13% compared to 2016.
JCB has this week gone into production with its new site dumpers in Staffordshire, a product line that will create around 70 further jobs over the next 12 months.
Chairman Lord Bamford said: “The industry in which we operate is doing very well at the moment, which is not only good news for JCB, it’s good news for our region and good news for Britain. Our spending with UK suppliers has increased substantially over the past year and we are already off to a very strong start in 2018 with a very healthy order bank in place.”
The prominent Brexit advocate added: “In my view there is every reason to be optimistic about the future and in particular the future of the British economy. With unemployment at its lowest level for more than 40 years, we face some challenges with recruitment but that is a great challenge to have to overcome and a very positive position for the UK to find itself in.”
JCB shop floor employees start 2018 with a pay rise of 3.9% as part of a three-year wage deal. It follows a £500 Christmas bonus paid to all 5,500 of JCB’s UK employees.
Chief executive Graeme Macdonald added: “The long-term pay deal agreed last year gave us the stability we needed to plan and has delivered a robust pay rise for JCB’s shop floor employees. The outlook for 2018 is positive with markets all over the world in exceptionally good shape.”