Made in Britain
A Unite Strategy for Manufacturing Growth in the UK
Unite believes the Government needs to invest in the UK manufacturing sector to re-balance the economy in order for growth to occur and competitiveness to be sustained, since the recession in Europe is still on going and emerging economies are reaping the rewards of the European focus on austerity and public sector cuts.
The UK government needs to mirror the commitment and support of the “Mittelstand companies” by the German government and instil similar policies to support the economic growth and export opportunities of UK based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
A UK strategic industrial investment bank with no shareholders needs to be created in order for SMEs and the wider manufacturing sector to truly prosper from this initiative.
Foreign direct investment in UK manufacturing is personified in what has happened at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). The Indian owned company has increased investment in their UK plants and has created over 9,000 new jobs with an extra 1,400 scheduled for 2014.
A survey by the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) found that one in seven UK manufacturing companies are bringing production back to the UK with the quality of goods made by UK workers as one of the reasons.
Unite believes the support of UK manufacturing and the growth of the UK economy should be the top priority for government. Public procurement is a vital tool in assuring the stability and longevity of not only the UK economy but also the UK manufacturing industry and the retention of workers in the industry.
Government must take the views of manufacturing industry seriously and ensure the promotion of manufacturing, engineering and science as career options through both teachers and the careers
UK manufacturing needs a new skills eco-system to implement apprenticeship and training policies that are currently in place within other European manufacturing industries, Germany is a prime example of
where there is a joined up education and training system which works.
There is clear evidence that more needs to be done on the equality agenda especially to encourage disabled people, women and those from minority ethnic groups who are poorly represented in this area,
as there is a link between low skills, dependency, poverty and discrimination.
Employment rights, which see the maintenance of a skilled workforce via sustainable, permanent jobs, are essential, as is the need to see an end to short termism with all its associated insecurities, leading
inescapably to a race to the bottom.
The belief that energy-intensive industries (Ells) are labour intensive, heavily polluting leftovers from a bygone era could not be further from the truth. Iron and steelmaking, cement and lime manufacture,
chemicals, ceramics, glass, non-ferrous metals (such as aluminium, zinc and lead), pulp and paper, coke and refined petroleum product industries form the foundation of UK manufacturing.
The UK has continually suffered from a lack of government strategy around manufacturing policy; as such Unite believes a Minister for Manufacturing with a seat in the Cabinet is the answer to re-focussing
government on the way forward for future economic growth.
Unite welcomes the government’s initiative in establishing Industrial Strategies in key manufacturing areas, but believes that we must go much further in embedding a commitment to manufacturing in our
financial, education and political systems. Unite believes such actions require a ‘whole’ government approach to ensure success and continuity.