MILAN (Reuters) - Italian coffee maker Lavazza said on Wednesday it had paid its workers the highest bonus in its history to reward them for ensuring production and meeting targets last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
As a manufacturer of food goods, Lavazza was allowed to continue producing during the government-imposed lockdown last spring, when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and most industries were shut down.
Lavazza said it would grant an extra gross 3,500 euros ($4,219) to its workers in the two plants in the northern region of Piedmont and a gross 2,500 euros to those in the main offices and in the Pozzilli plant, specialising in the production of decaffeinated coffee.
It said these bonuses were on top of a 500 euro one which had already been paid in both March and April last year.
The move mirrors that of companies in other key industries that guaranteed production despite the coronavirus crisis.
The world's biggest pasta maker Barilla said last year it would reward its workers with a total of 11 million euros ($13.26 million) in bonuses.
Lavazza said it also donated a total of 12.5 million euros to finance projects to support health and education in the more disadvantaged parts of the population, mainly in the Piedmont Region where the company has its headquarters.
The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has seen 98,288 deaths since the outbreak hit last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.
($1 = 0.8296 euros)
(Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia; Editing by Bernadette Baum)