Added protections urgently needed to prevent off-shoring of jobs to low-cost economies

Unite the Union is calling for a robust manufacturing strategy to underpin job creation in Northern Ireland.

At the Irish policy conference of Unite, held in Croke Park today, Ireland Deputy Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock called for action to safeguard jobs in the manufacturing sector:
“In the last year, the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland has suffered a number of large-scale jobs losses. We lost 850 jobs in JTI in Ballymena, more than 550 in Bombardier-Shorts, 140 in FG Wilson, 100 in Howden and these are just the headline losses.

“Manufacturing is under attack in Northern Ireland and the rush to outsourcing to lower cost economic competitors continues. Protections against redundancy in the UK and Ireland are among the weakest in Europe. This is resulting in Northern Ireland being viewed as the easy option for job losses by multinationals by comparison to other EU countries where they employ workers. It is essential that the Northern Ireland Executive addresses this problem and intervenes to pass protect workers from the race-to-the-bottom on workers’ pay.”

“In addition to this, we need a manufacturing strategy that looks at where we are at and where we need to go. An interventionist strategy that identifies where we need investment, what the obstacles are to growth and identifies remedies and responses; a strategy that facilitates growth in powerful industries like Pharmaceuticals, Precision-Engineering and Aeronautics.”

“Only with a strong industrial base, rooted in a strong infrastructure, can we build a better future. We need to build on solid foundations; a robust productive base provides that. There are no short-cuts but we need to take the first steps now before we lose even more of these vital jobs. We must ensure that real steps are taken to safeguard the future of manufacturing in our society”, Mr Pollock concluded.

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Paula Geraghty

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