This week at Unite’s National Sector Conferences I launched a new strategy to help save UK manufacturing. Called ‘2020 Vision – Unite Strategy For Manufacturing’ the document sets out Unite’s policy to revive and rebuild the UK’s manufacturing sector over the remainder of the decade. The strategy highlights the importance for the UK economy to have a robust and skilled manufacturing base.
Delegates from Aerospace, Shipbuilding, Engineering, Chemicals, Sciences, Print, Paper, IT, Vehicle Building, Motor Components, Steel, Servicing, Communications, Electronics and Electrical Engineering heard of the dangers faced by UK manufacturing where the Tory-led coalition government is doing more damage to UK manufacturing than any previous Conservative government. I told delegates that manufacturing is the lifeblood of our economy. However, the problem was and is the Coalition government having no long-term strategy on UK manufacturing – and is in fact doing more damage to UK manufacturing than any previous Conservative government.
The government is strong on manufacturing rhetoric but weak on delivery. Actions speak louder than words and the actions, so far by the Coalition have fallen woefully short of what is needed to provide the support for manufacturing, which has been missing for so long. If this government is serious about rebalancing the economy, we need to invest in the UK’s manufacturing skills base with a long-term solution.
The downloadable document (link to come) sets out Unite’s policy and calls for a strong and robust manufacturing base which uses the latest technology, invests in the future and invests in apprenticeships and skills in order to avoid skill shortages and create a successful and balanced economy.
The fact is that we have some fantastic manufacturing companies in the UK staffed with world-class workforces, but George Osborne’s austerity measures are crippling consumer demand meaning we’re in no fit shape to weather the global economic storm.
In the document Unite proposes ten pillars upon which a manufacturing revival should be based:
- Build a framework of policies to defend strategically important industries.
- Continued financial support through interventionist policies.
- Targeted support for small and medium sized enterprises.
- Better use of government purchasing power to secure manufacturing jobs in the UK.
- Maximising the opportunities that the low carbon revolution offers.
- Delivery of an education and skills framework, which meets all industry’s needs.
- Creating a university structure, which builds on the science base so necessary to secure high skilled jobs.
- Create right investment environment for research and development.
- Creation of a level playing field to deliver security and fair pricing for energy.
- 10. A framework of legislation, which promotes transparency and engagement for all stakeholders in the future of manufacturing.
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