The government’s failure to adopt a joined up industrial strategy for manufacturing and the overreliance on the service sector will undermine long-term economic growth, Britain’s largest union, Unite warned today (Tuesday 3 May) as the Markit/CIPS UK index reported a contraction in manufacturing activity for the first time in more than three years.
Unite, which represents over 500,000 people working in the manufacturing sector said ‘alarm bells’ should be ringing across Whitehall as the report showed manufacturing jobs were cut for the fourth straight month, with the rate of decline the fastest since February 2013.
Markit said recent data suggests there have been close to 20,000 job losses in the sector over the past three months. Meanwhile official figures last week revealed Britain's economic growth slowed to 0.4 per cent in the first quarter from 0.6 per cent in the final three months of 2015, driven in part by a poor performance from the manufacturing industry.
Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “Alarm bells should be going off in the Treasury and right across Whitehall at these latest figures which underline the fragile and lopsided nature of the UK’s economic growth.
“The over reliance on the service sector to power the UK’s stuttering economic growth will not fulfil the government’s promise to rebalance the economy or deliver long-term sustainable growth for all.
“A source of decent skilled jobs, manufacturing is key component of the UK economy and now faces being exposed to full the force of global headwinds because of the government’s failure to adopt an active industrial strategy.
“We would urge government ministers to follow the lead of the likes of Germany by working with industry and trade unions to develop an industrial strategy that delivers long-term economic growth and decent skilled jobs.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.