Manufacturing employment rates have reached their lowest levels since 1841, new figures have revealed.
The November Labour Market report from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of people working in manufacturing has fallen yet again.
Transport and General Workers Union general secretary Tony Woodley said the report showed that “the industrial revolution has almost come full circle”.
“Having the lowest numbers in manufacturing since records began is a record the government cannot be proud of,” Woodley added.
In 2006, manufacturing employs fewer staff than it did in 1841, when the main employing industries were coal mining, shipbuilding, textiles, iron, and steel, the union claims.
“The roll call of household names that have cut jobs or run away from the UK using our lax labour laws is an indictment on them and the failure of government to address the problems we have continually highlighted,” said Woodley.
“Government is a big customer of the manufacturing industries. It should use its buying power to ensure products to equip our schools and hospitals are made in this country, as well as taking a strategic lead to promote manufacturing investment.”