12:41 Saturday 07 December 2013

Union representative's cautious optimism at JCB's future

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

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THE man representing JCB’s shop floor workforce has expressed his ‘delight’ at the expansion of the company.

Gordon Richardson, the digger giant’s GMB Union representative, said his colleagues were excited about new facilities at Rocester’s World Headquarters and a brand new factory in Beamhurst.

However, he added a note of caution about whether new workers would be from agencies, as opposed to fully-fledged JCB employees.

He also said several of his co-workers have ‘bad memories’ of previous recessions and associated job losses – most notably in 2008 and 2009.

Mr Richardson said: “The expansion of our company is absolutely brilliant news for us.

“We’re getting brand new facilities and employees that will hopefully be full-time core workers. Hopefully the volume of production will go up accordingly.

“The way the world is going, it’s moving towards agency workers, but we hope there’ll be a plan to make them full JCB employees in the future.

“However, you always have that worry about jobs going, like they did in 2008 and 2009, in the back of your mind.

“Recessions often come in seven-year cycles and we’re approaching that cycle now but we’re hoping the housing market and road infrastructure work will protect the economy.

“I think the work between the government and JCB is good but I’m a fully-paid-up Labour member so I want to see them back in power.”

Mr Richardson was positive about JCB’s latest drive to appoint young apprentices.

A new in-house training facility for JCB staff, to be run in conjunction with ‘key universities’, will support apprenticeship and graduate training scheme.

This move has been accommodated by the government’s Autumn statement, which announced the abolition of national insurance – or ‘jobs tax’ – for employees under the age of 21.

Mr Richardson said: “The apprenticeships move is also great news and we’re about to sign up to the national Charter of Apprentices.

“These are real jobs in the workplace, meaning full-time employment for local youngsters and that’s invaluable.”

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