Why we must protect manufacturing

Rover should have been nationalised – a joint venture could have been set up with the Chinese govt. But no, we can only bail out banks, not the productive real economy…

From the soon-to-be-free-online Morning Star:

Bleak aftermath of Rover closure ‘proves need to protect skilled jobs’
(Wednesday 12 November 2008)

UNITE union joint general secretary Tony Woodley warned new Labour on Wednesday that it must protect highly skilled, well-paid manufacturing jobs in light of research showing that ex-Rover workers are now earning thousands of pounds less.

Some 6,300 people lost their jobs when the Rover plant at Longbridge closed in the wake of the car firm’s collapse in 2005.

A study of the workers by the Work Foundation and Birmingham Business School showed that two-thirds earned less money now, with an average pay cut of £5,640 a year.

Mr Woodley said: “It is testimony to the resilience of the Rover workforce that the vast majority of those who found themselves out of work when Longbridge closed dusted themselves down and found new work.

“But the bald reality is that most of them were forced to abandon manufacturing, set aside their skills and take a hefty pay cut just to stay in work.

“The real lesson from the Rover experience, and one that we urge government to pay close attention to at this time of tremendous economic uncertainty, is that we must never again allow highly skilled, well-paid manufacturing jobs such as these to be lost from our communities.

“As recession grips the UK, we need our leaders to take swift and significant steps to protect our remaining manufacturing jobs. Our government must do all in its power to ensure the mistakes of Rover are not repeated.”

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