WORKERS at troubled factory JCB in Wrexham have received a huge boost thanks to a major deal struck with the British Army.

JCB has been awarded the largest order for machines for the British Army in more than 25 years.

The order for 236 machines was won in the face of fierce global competition and will be delivered by the end of January 2011.

Staff at JCB Transmissions on the Industrial Estate in Wrexham will be producing key components for the machinery.

It will come as welcome news over the festive period for the 350 workers following a number of job cuts in recent years.

The news has been welcomed by the GMB Union who hope the deal will create jobs.

Senior organiser Mervyn Burnett said: “The GMB is very pleased and we welcome the news.

“It comes on the back of two years of uncertainty with a number of redundancies. JCB workers welcome the news and hope it brings job security to them.

“We hope it will also create jobs and the meltdown in the manufacturing industry can begin to stop.”

The workers will be producing gearboxes and axcels for the JCB vehicles known as backhoe loaders.

Altogether the order includes 138 of these loaders which are made in Rocester in Staffordshire and will be finished by the end of January.

The order also includes making 98 wheel loading shovels – but they will be produced at a factory in Cheadle, Stockport.

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths also welcomed the announcement, saying: “This is great news for JCB employees, their families and for Wrexham.

“The securing of this contract will mean jobs and skills are retained which may otherwise have been lost.”

Group Communications Director, John Kavanagh, said: “JCB has had a difficult couple of years on account of the recession.

“In 2007 we sold 72,000 machines and in 2009 we sold 36,000 machines.

“But in 2010 we expect to sell 50,000 so things are looking up.”

Earlier this year JCB reported an upturn in profits leading to an additional 35 workers at the Wrexham plant.

Mr Kavanagh said it was uncertain whether the new deal would create more jobs at Wrexham but said that the company as a whole is beginning to recruit in general.

“It’s good news and we’re seeing signs of growth around the world such as India, Brazil, China and Russia.”

- ALC, a joint venture between Amey plc and Babcock International Group plc, which is the service provider to the Ministry of Defence for plant and mechanical handling equipment for the British Army, awarded the contract.