Unite the union: “Only a dedicated strategy will bring the focus and oversight necessary to ensure real action to meet the challenges facing our producers”
Manufacturing NI: “Employers and trade unions have a vital role to play in terms of developing and overseeing delivery of such a strategy – we stand ready to play that role”
June 5th: In a joint press release, Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, employers representative body for the sector and Davy Thompson, Unite the union Regional Coordinating Officer, with responsibility for the sector, jointly called on all political parties to back a motion coming before the Assembly on Monday (June 6th) demanding a dedicated Manufacturing Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI said:
“Manufacturing generates annual sales approaching £20 billion, directly employing eighty-five thousand people, supports production and employment of 214,000 in the wider supply chain and creates well-paid jobs and strong communities in every constituency across Northern Ireland.
“Food, engineering, transport, technology, building products, fabrics, polymers, packaging and even the new renewable industries all benefit from the famous Ulster ingenuity and hard work.
“The motion to be debated in the Assembly tomorrow calls on the Minister to bring forward a dedicated strategy for the sector. We have long demanded an approach which will ensure greater focus is brought to bear on the challenges of growing Manufacturing in Northern Ireland.
“We work closely with Unite the union in advocating for the sector and are jointly calling on all parties to back the motion. Manufacturing is too important to become a political football. Employers and trade unions have a vital role to play in terms of developing and overseeing delivery of such a strategy – we stand ready to play that role”, Mr Kelly ended.
On behalf of Unite, Davy Thompson said:
“As a union representing tens of thousands of manufacturing workers, Unite has led the way in demanding a stand-alone Manufacturing Strategy for Northern Ireland. We believe only a dedicated Manufacturing strategy will bring the focus and oversight necessary to ensure real action to meet the challenges facing our producers.
“We need real action to lower energy supply costs, for example to deliver the long-delayed north-south electricity interconnector. We need ambitious plans for investment in upgrading our transport infrastructure to guarantee we are still competitive in the decades to come.
“We need a new approach to supporting education and skills to increase access and improve outcomes for working-class children who are currently being left behind. We need greater investment in quality apprenticeships and training to ensure that the labour force skills necessary for success are guaranteed into the future”, Mr Thompson concluded.