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GSK’s investment welcome, but government must do more and urgently invest in manufacturing
Unite, the UK's largest union, has welcomed the news from pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today (Thursday, 22 March) that it will invest £500m at its various manufacturing sites across the UK, creating 1,000 new jobs.
However, the union is calling on the government to produce a strategic manufacturing strategy that supports the UK's manufacturing.
Unite national officer, Linda McCulloch, said: "This is welcome news and a big thumbs up for the UK manufacturing, pharmaceutical and construction sectors.
"This investment is fantastic for the North West, where the new facility will be built. It will create much needed employment opportunities in the area and will safeguard hundreds of skilled jobs.
"However, the pharmaceutical industry has seen a lot of uncertainty with over 10,000 jobs lost in the past five years.
"This investment is testament to the skills of UK workers. These dedicated workers thoroughly deserve this investment and the long term security of employment this brings.
"But, more needs to be done. We need to invest in the UK's manufacturing skills base for the future. Once again, we call on the government to invest in the UK's manufacturing skills base with a long-term solution."
GSK has confirmed it will investment £100m at the company's manufacturing sites in Montrose and Irvine in Scotland. A further £80m will be invested at its sites in Ware, Hertfordshire and Barnard Castle in County Durham.
The company has also announced Cumbria as the chosen location for its first new manufacturing facility to be built in the UK in almost 40 years. In total, it is anticipated this investment will create up to 1,000 new jobs over the lifetime of the projects.
Unite has recently published its manufacturing strategy, 2020 Vision, which calls for the need for a strong and robust manufacturing base which uses the latest technology, invests in the future, invests in apprenticeships and skills in order to avoid skill shortages and create a successful and balanced economy.
Unite's 2020 Vision is available to download click here
Unite has proposed the ten pillars upon which manufacturing should be based which are:
1. Build a framework of policies to defend strategically important industries.
2. Continued financial support through interventionist policies.
3. Targeted support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
4. Better use of government purchasing power to secure manufacturing jobs in the UK.
5. Maximising the opportunities that the low carbon revolution offers.
6. Delivery of an education and skills framework which meets all industry's needs.
7. Creating a university structure which builds on the science base so necessary to secure high skilled jobs.
8. Create right investment environment for Research and Development.
9. Creation of a level playing field to deliver security and fair pricing for energy.
10. A framework of legislation which promotes transparency and engagement for all stakeholders in the future of manufacturing.