Union says economic interventionism – not attacks on workers’ rights – is how to save industry


Unite has called for economic intervention to help the UK manufacturing after latest figures show the health of the industry is at its worst since 2009 when the UK was in the grip of recession.

Assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “It’s a grim start to 2012 for manufacturing and our members who rely on a strong manufacturing performance for their jobs. These fourth quarter figures are the worst performance since the depth of the 2009 recession.

“We need an interventionist strategy to help manufacturing companies, be they large or small and medium sized businesses – otherwise stagnant manufacturing output is here for years to come.”

The Markit Purchasing Managers Index survey, which asked manufacturers about their output and order books, showed a reading of 49.6 last month (December) – a tiny improvement on the 47.7 recorded in November, but still below the 50 mark which signals the sector is expanding.

Tony Burke said: “The coalition is seizing on any straw in the wind – but it has no coherent strategy to help manufacturing overall. It is a tough time across the European Union (EU) and the eurozone crisis makes things very uncertain for companies, our members and their families.

“We have many world-class businesses, with a workforce with fantastic skills who need the government’s help – but all ministers seem intent on are attacks on employment rights.

“And our manufacturing companies rely on traditional markets in the EU. David Cameron may have won the backing of the ‘Little Englanders’, anti-EU MPs and the right wing media by skulking away from the European deal, but manufacturing companies and our members are not impressed.

“We have to be on the pitch – in the game – we are not even on the subs bench when it comes to Team Europe – we are sitting in Row Z. But Cameron tells UK companies and our members we are not isolated from the eurozone crisis.”

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