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Unite calls for manufacturing strategy to support jobs

Unite calls for manufacturing strategy to support jobs

15 February 2017

Unite the union has called for new thinking to support jobs in the Scottish economy, following news that unemployment in Scotland has risen for the third time in a row.

Unite – the biggest union in the Scottish manufacturing sector – says the country needs a new industrial strategy and investment in skills. 

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The whole of the UK is crying out for a proper industrial strategy that will support manufacturing, and Scotland could lead the way.

“The Scottish Government could use its powers over enterprise and the economy to create new forums for strategic planning and investment, bringing together government, unions and business. We should start with the biggest sectors of the economy, including energy, tourism, housing, manufacturing, and especially oil and gas.

“We have repeatedly called for a summit between the Scottish and Westminster governments to look at the future of our offshore sector. We need to bring everyone to the table and come up with plans for joint investment that will support the jobs of our members and create a sustainable future for the oil and gas industry in Scotland.”

The union also called for further investment in apprenticeships to support new skills. Research by the UK Commission for Enterprise and Skills has found that 14 per cent of employers in Scotland face skills gaps. In Northern Ireland the figure was just nine per cent.

Pat Rafferty said: “The Apprenticeship Levy on employers will raise hundreds of millions of pounds in Scotland. The Scottish Government has control over that funding and should start thinking about new ways to fill the skills gap.

“New Apprenticeship Academies could bring together employers, councils, universities and colleges, and train the next generation of workers for the future economy. The Institution of Engineering and Technology believes that Scotland will need an additional 147,300 engineers from 2012 – 2022. We need to meet that demand for skilled workers if our economy is to succeed and support new employment in the future.”

ENDS

Notes to editors 

For further information contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / david.eyre@unitetheunion.org

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.

More details on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills survey on the skills gap are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525444/UKCESS_2015_Report_for_web__May_.pdf

More details on the IET’ s estimate of engineering need in Scotland are available here: http://pwemag.co.uk/news/archivestory.php/aid/1633/Demand_for_engineers__is_at_an_all-time_high_.html

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