Jobs joy as Peterlee firm launches search for 100 new workers

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A MANUFACTURING plant is looking to recruit up to 100 staff as it rebuilds business after the recession.

Caterpillar’s factory in Peterlee axed 400 of its 1,000 strong workforce two years ago when the economic downturn hit the construction industry.

But the firm says orders have returned to 2007 levels and it has taken on 100 agency staff this year – half of whom have since been given permanent positions – and expects to recruit a further 100 before the year is out.

The latest appointments come on top of 250 agency workers taken on last year and see the numbers at the factory again top 1,000.

Caterpillar plans to invest about £5milion in the plant as part of a £90million a year scheme to keep it ahead of its rivals.

“We plan to be very aggressive, very competitive in the UK,” said company chief executive Doug Oberhelman.

“We are looking at plant upgrading, modernisation and some expansion.”

Caterpillar expects to return to its former capacity of 3,000 vehicles a year by the end of 2011.

“Production levels have doubled year-on-year from 2010, and are forecast to increase again for 2012,” said site manager Phil Handley.