Amicus has welcomed the introduction of the National Manufacturing Skills Academy, which the union has supported since its conception:
Ensuring that workers have access to high standard training, and career progression is at the heart of the union's agenda and the union is working hard with its Officers and workplace representatives to unlock the potential within the UK's workforce.
Ed Sweeney, Deputy General Secretary, said "we welcome the introduction of the NMSA and the Government's consistent push for skills to be high on the agenda of employers. However, little will change unless employers actually invest in training. The Government has put employers firmly in the driving seat and now they must deliver".
Amicus is heavily involved supporting the work of Sector Skills Councils and its development of Skills Academies.
Tom Beattie, Head of Lifelong Learning for Amicus, added "Amicus the union has supported all of the successful Skills Academies and looks forward to working with employers, in the workplace, to ensure our Stewards and Union Learning Reps are involved in the coming months and years. Without proper trade union involvement, at all levels, the huge potential these Academies offer will not be realised".
However Amicus fears that the introduction of Academies will do nothing to stem the loss of jobs from the UK manufacturing sector. Just the last couple of weeks have seen thousands of manufacturing jobs being shed, from Peugeot in Coventry to NCR in Dundee. Unless the government introduces stronger employment legislation UK workers will continue to be the soft touch they are now when transnational companies seek to make job cuts.
Whilst the UK is an easy place to start up business (and increasingly and easy place to take-over businesses ), it's also easier to finish workers here than in many other European countries.A flexible workforce can of course be a great asset to the success of UK based businesses, but it does make it a target when multi-national companies establish low cost operations and need to "trim" their Western European based production.
Whilst anything designed to help raise skill levels is to be welcomed, Amicus have good cause for caution.