MANUFACTURING industry in Britain is bleeding to death. That's what the leader of one of Britain's biggest unions says. John Edmonds of the general workers' GMB union said this week, 'Ministers must wake up. UK industry is not facing an inflation crisis or a sterling crisis. It is facing a manufacturing crisis on a scale not seen since the dark days of Thatcherism.' Edmonds spoke out with thousands of car workers at Ford and Rover facing the sack. Asset-strippers Alchemy looked set to take Rover over at the end of this week, and multinational giant Ford is set to announce the effective closure of its Dagenham plant in Essex.
Jobs hang in the balance at shipyards in Scotland, Newcastle and Belfast, and at steel plants in South Wales. Thousands of workers' jobs have already been axed in the textile industry. A survey by Edmonds's GMB union says nearly 250,000 industrial jobs have gone since Labour came to office. Nearly 30,000 jobs have been lost this year.
The toll includes:
|Birmingham and the West Midlands||31,322|
|Southern England and the south west||38,259|
Edmonds warns New Labour that the jobs slaughter will cost the government votes. He is right. But Edmonds and other union leaders should stop sitting back and start organising resistance.