Unite, Britain’s largest union, warned that last week’s return to economic growth masked deeper economic problems, as new figures showed that the manufacturing sector had shrunk for the sixth month in a row, pointing to more economic woe.
Today’s (Thursday 1 November) Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) headline figure of 47.5 for October was down from last month’s 48.1 and below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
The figures follow a torrid seven days for manufacturing with yesterday seeing 156 workers at the makers of the iconic black cab, Manganese Bronze, laid off by the administrators PWC. Last week Ford brought an end to over a century of vehicle manufacture in the UK, with the planned closure of its Transit van plant in Southampton and stamping plant in Dagenham at a cost of over 1,400 jobs.
Commenting, Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “These figures point to last week’s growth figures being a blip and masking what is going on in the real economy.
“The government’s failing economic policies are choking off demand and investment. They say they want to rebalance the economy, but the only rebalancing going on is towards part-time, short-term work, with the ranks of long-term unemployed rising and underemployment growing.
“British manufacturing is among the best in the world. The government must step in and back it with an industrial strategy and a national investment bank to drive innovation, jobs and growth.”
For further information contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065, or Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.