Statistics showing difficulties in Manufacturing sector highlight need for ambition by Minister and Invest NI
Action needed to secure investment for real jobs with decent wages
February 8th: Jimmy Kelly, Ireland Secretary of Unite, responded to the Purchasing Managers Index figures for January which indicated continued weakness in the Manufacturing sector:
“The Ulster Bank’s Purchasing Managers Index shows a fall in manufacturing employment for the fifth month in a row as well as a sharp fall in new orders. This stands in marked contrast with the growth the figures suggest that’s occurring in the other main sectors in Northern Ireland: services, retail and construction.
“Unfortunately, these figures do not include the more than 2,000 jobs which will be lost in the sector over the next eighteen months. The scale of those losses, their high-value nature and the multiplier impact has the potential to wipe out any gains made since the 2008 recession.
“Manufacturing continues to be of vital importance to Northern Ireland’s economy; it contributes 16% of total employment as well as external sales of £14.3 billion a year. As Liam Neeson told the Ballymena Rally For A Future last Saturday: giving up on Manufacturing is ‘simply not an option’.
“With our strength in manufacturing skills and infrastructure, Northern Ireland can still succeed in Manufacturing but these figures present a direct challenge to Invest NI which has publicly stated that it is no longer proactively seeking foreign investment in the sector.
“Unite is calling for the Minister to intervene to reverse this policy and ensure Invest NI has real ambition to win investment for real jobs with decent wages. Rebalancing the economy must mean having a robust productive base to fund our public services”, Mr Kelly concluded.