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Wrights Plastics GPX welcomes National Living Wage, urges greater investment

National Living WageIn a press release distributed today, Wrights Plastics GPX have welcomed the introduction of the National Living Wage - but urges manufacturers to increase investment as the way to improve productivity and remain globally competitive.

A solution to increased labour costs could be a reduction in investment but Wrights Plastics GPX have decided that they will continue to invest in the very latest technology in order to meet the costs of the National Living Wage through increased productivity - securing current employment levels and with the long-term aim to continue to increase staffing levels,

Wrights Plastics have invested close to €500,000 in the latest machinery and plant in order to compete with rivals across the globe. The plastic fabrication business employs around 100 at their West Bromwich base, many of whom will be affected by the changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne last July.

The National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for employees aged 25 and over comes into effect in April 2016, rising to £9 by 2020.

Andy Watkins, Commercial Director at Wrights Plastics said this week “We fully welcome the introduction of National Living Wage but there is no escaping the fact that it will have a significant impact on costs, especially for many small and medium sized manufacturers like ourselves. We also compete with companies in the Pacific Rim where labour costs are already significantly lower.”

Andy continues "For a business like ours this level of investment has seen us increase costs at the very time that we are having to fund higher wages but without this investment we simply cannot remain competitive in a global market.”

There is plenty of room for increased productivity in the UK economy as a whole as we produce on average 30% less per hour than workers in Germany, the US and France. Economists have identified a lack of investment as one of the factors in this ‘productivity gap.’

Investment at the company has focused on the very latest in cutting and printing technology. The company is the first in the UK to operate much of the equipment they have introduced.  “This type of cutting-edge technology enables us to produce at a faster rate with less waste and an improved finish quality. These improvements help us increase output, reduce costs and win new quality-driven business. That will allow us to meet the requirements of the new pay legislation – and hopefully continue to take on more staff too!”