A blueprint to combat the ‘short-termism’ of government policy towards the defence industry has been launched by Unite, the country’s largest union.
Unite’s Defending our Industry calls for “the creation of a long-term industrial strategy” to safeguard the future of the 100,000 people directly employed in the UK’s defence industry and the further 360,000 jobs in the supply chain.
Unite called for ministers to engage in “smart procurement” to eradicate waste in the £16 billion a year that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) spends on equipment and support.
The document said: “Unite believes that to ensure the UK taxpayer is achieving the best possible results for their investment, government must implement stringent criteria in relation to the procurement and wider issues around the efficiencies of the MoD and its control of major projects.”
Unite’s blueprint includes:
- Government acknowledging that a ‘buying off the shelf’ policy does not work and makes no economic sense for the taxpayer
- Investment and growth in the defence sector is needed to staunch the outflow of highly skilled workers due to the recent defence cuts
- Ministers must legislate for ‘a pan business re-deployment model’, which allows highly skilled workers at risk of redundancy to be seconded from one employer to another
- Rhe European Commission and the European Defence Agency must act against the protectionist policies of some member states that mitigate against ‘a level playing field’ for UK defence companies.
Unite national officer for the defence industries Ian Waddell said: “The government needs to get a grip and formulate a coherent long-term strategy to safeguard the future of one of Britain’s manufacturing success stories.
“The ad hoc approach adopted in the past must be jettisoned, otherwise future contracts and jobs will be under threat.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940