A “radical” new blueprint intended to transform the nation’s manufacturing industry has been launched by the UK and Ireland’s largest union.
The ‘Manufacturing Matters’ document was launched this week at Unite’s sixth sector conference detailing a long-term industrial plan, which provides a route map for industry.
It is rooted in trade union and labour values and its aim is the delivery of a strong, diverse economy providing secure, skilled jobs.
At the heart of the strategy is the need for a sustainable manufacturing sector based on an ambitious 10 point plan that includes investment, defending foundation industries and crucially, a demand that we ‘Build local – Buy UK’ supporting jobs, skills and communities relying on a strong manufacturing sector.
“We have in our hands the power to make sure that government at every level uses its procurement budget to support British manufacturing and its extended supply chains,” said Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary for Manufacturing at Unite.
“We can and must bring back the thousands of manufacturing jobs that moved overseas in order to shorten supply chains and reduce our overall global carbon footprint — and we need a “just transition” to new green sustainable jobs. Workers must be leaders in our industries and trade unions must be on the frontline of the green industrial revolution.
“Guaranteeing high quality vocational apprenticeships and lifelong learning are also key. Workers must have the opportunity to learn new skills and develop during downtimes without loss of pay in a radical shake up of working time.
“With regards to automation and artificial intelligence, the next industrial revolution can either herald a dystopian future or it can enrich our lives, freeing us to fulfil our true potential as human beings. Only with a strong, determined and confident trade union voice will this next industrial revolution benefit workers and wider society.
“Sectoral collective bargaining, true industrial democracy and new corporate ownership models providing a collective voice for working people via their unions are central to the long-term future of advanced, sustainable manufacturing.
“Our strategy for manufacturing lays out such a vision and we call on our movement to get behind its delivery.”