Unite sets out manufacturing vision

2 mins read

The Unite union is launching its strategy for re-balancing and growing the UK economy "by defending and supporting UK manufacturing".

In its document, 'Made in Britain', the union has set out a case for a manufacturing strategy designed to grow and support the UKs manufacturing base. It argues for a policy of public procurement to help manufacturing and a new skills eco-system to attract more young people into manufacturing apprenticeships with transferable skills. It also argues for decent employment rights, decent pay and conditions, collective bargaining and restrictions on the unfettered use of agency work. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Over the past year, I have visited a number of manufacturing sites and have questioned why so much of the machinery or components being used by our members are produced outside of the UK. "The answer from employers and our members has been that we can't get UK made equipment – even though they would prefer to purchase UK manufactured equipment and parts. This is why the Unite strategy to bring the supply chain back to the UK is vital." He added: "Clearly, investment is the key to manufacturing success and this is why we repeat again our commitment to seeing government policy on procurement changed to show that the purchasing power government has could re-invigorate manufacturing in the UK overnight. "We are not asking for favours – just a positive procurement policy under similar circumstances as those employed by other governments in the European Union." 'Made In Britain' is aimed at influencing the Labour party in developing its manufacturing strategy. In it, Unite calls for: • A framework of policies to defend strategically significant manufacturing industries • A minister for manufacturing (with a seat in the Cabinet) who is prepared to present a cohesive manufacturing strategy and use interventionist policies to facilitate further growth in UK manufacturing • A 'bank for industry' where manufacturing companies of all sizes have access to investment funding at affordable rates • Better use of government procurement opportunities to ensure procured goods and services are manufactured in the UK by UK based companies employing UK-based workers • Maximising of the the opportunities that the low carbon revolution offers • Delivery of an education and skills framework which is fit for purpose and provides industry with the skilled workers it needs • The creation of a university structure which builds on the science base necessary to secure high skilled jobs • Creation of a level playing field to deliver security and fair pricing for energy • Targeted support for SMEs, including financial support to enable them to grow and innovate • A framework of legislation which promotes transparency and engagement for all stakeholders in the future of manufacturing