EMPLOYEES at digger giant JCB who have clocked up a combined 1,500 years of service have had their dedication honoured.
The Rocester-based company invited 26 workers to a special lunch dedicated to everyone who had served the company for 40 years or more.
At the celebration event - which was staged at the World Headquarters - those who were being honoured each received a gift to mark their milestone.
Thanking them for their service, chief executive officer Alan Blake told the guests that between them they had worked for more than 13 million hours for JCB during the past five decades.
He said: “Your contribution to JCB’s growth and the company’s success should not be underestimated.
“The company could not have done it without you.
“So we toast the part you have played, we pay tribute to your dedication and we say thank you for your commitment.”
Some of guests joined the company as early as 1964 – before man had even landed on the moon.
During the time the long-serving employees have spent with JCB, the company has grown from having one factory and several hundred people to become the world’s third largest manufacturer of construction equipment with 22 global plants and 11,000 employees around the world.
Among those who attended were five employees who all started their careers as apprentices in research and development at the same time in July 1972.
Dave Slaney has spent 42 years with company and currently works as a cost accountant for JCB Loadall Business Unit, based in Rocester.
The 58-year-old, who lives in Uttoxeter, told The Post and Times: “I have never wanted to work anywhere else.
“The company has continuously grown and prospered and kept going even through the bad times.
“I have really enjoyed my time with JCB and expect to be here a few more years yet.”
Michael Collins, of Rugeley, who works as the after market sales manager at JCB World Parts Centre, based in Uttoxeter, said his dedication was a reflection on how much the company means to him.
The 56-year-old said: “It goes to show how much you think of a company when you stick around for so long.
“JCB has always looked after its staff and helped all five of us to develop our skills in order to further our careers.”