by Damon de Laszlo, ERC Chairman
Having been struggling over the weekend with the preparation of papers for a Board Meeting next week at my manufacturing company, I came more and more to the conclusion that the government is either completely ignorant of the needs of hi-tec manufacturing companies or prefers to support its friends and donors in the banking and retail sector.
This morning reading in the paper that the government is proposing to extend maternity leave to men on an apparently ad-hoc basis indicates total lack of understanding of how manufacturing works and the impossibility of planning and running hi-tech processes when your labour force can take extended periods of leave, at the company’s expense. This may be fine in Civil Service departments where customer service is not part of the ethos, but if a manufacturer does not supply product on time customers can go elsewhere.
It is also frustrating that the generosity of the government extends to providing Bank Holidays without any consideration of how you maintain production in automated factories—another disruption and cost imposed on UK manufacturing. The list of burdens imposed on industry in its short period of office, including its huge disincentive to invest in modern machinery makes one wonder and fear for the future.