Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, is calling on the government to provide urgently needed assistance and long-term certainty to help kick start what has become a rapidly declining manufacturing sector.

Unite’s call came after the latest IHS Markit purchasing managers index recorded the worst figures for factory output since 2012, affecting jobs and investment.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “These figures are deeply worrying, this is far more than a blip and workers, families and communities are paying the price with job losses, pressure on pay and on-going uncertainty over their futures.  

“While the roots of this can be traced back to decades of underinvestment and short-term profiteering, there is no doubt that the collapse of our manufacturing base today is a direct result of government failure.

“Three and a half years of political uncertainty, fears over a no deal Brexit and a complete failure to develop and introduce a meaningful industrial strategy to intervene, invest and support UK Plc has resulted in global corporations with investment options looking elsewhere, existing work being transferred overseas, factories closing and/or relocating, skills and knowledge being lost and UK based investment decisions being postponed or cancelled altogether.

“The government can’t simply wait for the invisible hand of the market to resolve the situation.

“As a minimum the government needs to urgently provide long term assurances that companies will continue to benefit from a customs arrangement and have access to frictionless trade with our principal market, the European Union.

“At the same time government must provide additional direct assistance, via an interventionist industrial strategy coupled with more specific support for individual sectors and supply chains deeply affected by current market transitions such as automotive and a collapse of business confidence such as in steel.

“A failure to take urgent action will result in manufacturing falling into a deep recession, thousands of skilled jobs, apprenticeships and opportunities for our kids being lost and those same families and working class communities so eagerly touted by Boris Johnson and the Tories during the general election, paying the ultimate price of their failure.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.