JCB has said it will be taking on at least another 20 people at its Wrexham plant.

The announcement came as shopfloor employees across the group voted to accept a three per cent pay increase as part of a historic wage deal which covers the next three-and-a-half years.

Agreement on the pay proposal was reached following a vote on Monday by GMB union members who will receive the rise July 1 this year.

The company also said it has started a recruitment process for up to an additional 200 shopfloor positions.

A JCB spokesman said more than 10 per cent of these would be at the Wrexham plant on the town’s industrial estate. This is good news for the plant which has shed more than 170 staff over the past two years due to shrinking order books.

GMB members also voted this week to accept a proposal for subsequent pay reviews to take place on January 1 2011, 2012 and 2013 and for them to be linked to the previous November’s rate of inflation.

Chief executive officer Alan Blake said: “We are pleased to return to the position of being able to offer pay rises to our workforce after a sustained period of uncertainty in world markets and are delighted that GMB members have voted in favour of the JCB pay proposal.

“This is the longest pay deal ever to be agreed at JCB and demonstrates a responsible approach by everyone concerned.

“There has been a slight improvement in some markets which has led to some increased demand for JCB’s products and while we can’t say at the moment if this situation will be sustained, we are pleased to be offering overtime and recruiting again.”

GMB works convenor Gordon Richardson said: “GMB members across the group have been through a torrid time over the past two years and it’s welcome news that the union has negotiated a pay rise with the company.

“It is also pleasant to see some of our former employees back working for the company as part of an on-going recruitment process.”