Amicus warns of manufacturing meltdown

Severe
skills shortages, low productivity and falling investment characterise the
British industrial landscape according to a new research report commissioned by
manufacturing union Amicus.

Urgent
fundamental cultural and political reforms including a change in government
procurement policy are needed if UK manufacturing is to survive, Amicus has
warned.

Amicus
is urging the Government to act immediately by appointing a minister for
manufacturing, providing stronger employment protection and forcing employers
to invest in their staff and production processes.

The
report also identifies greater investment in research and development,
increasing modern apprenticeships and improved employee consultation as vital
to increasing manufacturing productivity.

Amicus
general secretary Derek Simpson said: "It’s time the Government got tough
with employers and called for an end to the investment strike. The future of
manufacturing in the UK depends on productivity, which depends on investment in
skills and technology.

"If
the UK is to retain it’s manufacturing base, the Government has to ensure
fundamental changes in the way business operates. Manufacturing simply cannot
survive in a low investment, low skill short termist business culture.

“Only
the Government can create an environment that limits the options of business to
withhold investment strong employment laws plus investment equals high
productivity and jobs."

UK
manufacturing falls behind its’ main international rivals in output,
employment, investment and productivity, with both Germany and France enjoying
stronger employment legislation and boasting higher productivity rates and a
much shallower rate of decline in output and employment in the sector.

Next
Monday 2,500 manufacturing workers, representing the number of manufacturing
job lost every week in UK manufacturing, will be marching to the Labour Party
conference to urge the Government to save their jobs.

Last
month the IPPR think-tank published a report on UK manufacturing which
predicted that if current trends continue the sector could shrink to around 10
per cent of GDP and account for only 5 per cent of jobs by 2050.

By Ben Willmott

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