Productivity review launched for British workers

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has announced a review into the productivity of British workers following a dispute over foreign labour.

More than 100 jobs were created for British workers in a deal earlier this month after a spate of wildcat strikes. A report on the strikes by conciliation service Acas found Total did not break the law when a contractor brought in only Italian and Portuguese staff to build a new plant for the Lindsey oil refinery.

The review, announced by Lord Mandelson and skills secretary John Denham, will recommend ways to improve the British engineering construction industry and determine what can be done to help British employers succeed in delivering engineering construction contracts.

Denham said: “We need to ensure that the government and industry do whatever it takes to build productivity and improve skills to help put British firms in the best place to compete for contracts and reap the benefits of innovation.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the manufacturing sector has borne the brunt of the economic downturn, doubling from 26,000 to 60,000 redundancies between September and December 2008. Construction, distribution and hospitality laid off 49,000 workers, up from 30,000 over the same period.

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