Workers at Fabweld Steel Products, which designs and manufactures standard and bespoke access covers for the construction and built environment industries, will each be taking a share of the £20,000 in electricity savings generated by the solar PV system. At a time when the increasing cost of living is badly affecting many families, managing director Wayne Carter was keen to use this year’s green dividend to provide extra financial support for his workers during the tough winter months.
The unexpected bonus came on top of staff receiving a prize-winning Shropshire turkey each from chairman Richard Hilton, which has become something of a festive tradition at FSP – with a little help from Beaman’s Butchers in Bridgnorth.
Wayne said: “Our employees are under pressure from rising energy costs and inflation on food and other daily essentials, and we wanted to do something to help ease some of that burden. Using the money saved on our electricity bills, we’ve given everyone a £500 ‘energy bonus’ which is a gesture of goodwill that we hope goes some way towards alleviating the financial hardship they are facing right now.”
The £500 energy bonus has been divided into two payments, with £250 paid in November and the rest going into January wage packets. Wayne added: “It was a conscious decision to not give the money in December as there would be the temptation to spend it on Christmas. Many of us get bills landing at the end of January, so it’s a good time to have a bit more money going into your bank account.”
Employees on the shop floor said they were delighted to receive the bonus. Mal Judson said: “The cost of living/energy bonus was such a lovely gesture and completely unexpected. In the current climate it’s what’s been needed to help with energy costs rising and the cost of living increasing. Especially at Christmas time.
Stephen Anson added: “The bonus was such a lovely gesture. It really helps with the pressure of worrying about the bills over Christmas.
Simon Durney agreed, saying: “This has really helped with my energy bills this year, and not having to worry about that as well as presents etc – much appreciated.”
Adam Scriven said: “This bonus was such an incredible gesture to all the staff. Even if they haven’t spent it on energy, it will certainly help towards Christmas and any other spending that the families may need. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I for one fully appreciate the gesture – it’s these acts of kindness and goodwill that the country needs right now.”
As part of its bid to be more sustainable and self-sufficient, Fabweld has invested £0.5m in energy saving measures at its production site in Telford. It has installed a 180,000kWp system powered by solar PV panels on the roof of its main production building, which has been boosted by a further 35kWp of solar panels fitted on a new extension. Together, more than 65 per cent of the factory’s total power requirements are met by onsite renewable energy generation.
Wayne believes the company’s green dividend won’t stop with the one-off payment for employees this winter. He added: “Next year, we are hoping to find other ways for our employees to directly benefit from the solar power system, for example installing charging points for electric vehicles and bikes so they can power up at work for free to reduce their travel costs. Energy is at a premium at the moment and while we are generating our own for free, we’d like to share the wealth with the people who work hard to make our business the success it is.”
Source: Shropshire Live