The TUC has called on the government to host a summit to examine how UK industry can prepare itself to tackle the threat to companies and jobs posed by the rapidly expanding Chinese economy.
The call comes in China, Europe and UK Manufacturing, a report being presented in a speech today to a Manufacturing Institute Conference by TUC chief economist, Ian Brinkley.
The report argues that employers are wrong to think the UK can compete with the Far East by forcing down labour costs or blocking new workplace rights. The only effective response is to put more money into skills, research and development, and innovation, it said
China, Europe and UK Manufacturing says companies in Germany, often cited by UK employer organisations as among the most heavily regulated in Europe, have won export markets in China, at a time when UK exports have struggled.
Brinkley said: “Chinese competition certainly poses real threats to many UK firms, and too few employers are doing enough to ensure manufacturing’s long-term survival.
“We need to invest in the things that matter like skills, research and innovation. And while each firm has to make and sell its own products, it is right to ask how government and the sector can work together to make the changes needed. That is why we need a special summit to help focus minds and enable everyone to work together.”