Union says 100,000 jobs lost in year

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NEARLY 100,000 jobs have been lost in manufacturing this year and the pace of redundancies is accelerating, according to union researchers, writes Barrie Clement.

The million-strong Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has identified more than 39,102 job losses in the three months since mid-July, compared with 22,642 in the previous four months.

Hardest hit areas are the South-east and the West Midlands which lost more than 6,000 jobs apiece, according to figures notified to AEEU head office.

The union believes it is underestimating the plight of manufacturing because the data does not include smaller companies and firms where there is no union organisation. The figures emerge at a time when the present 2.8 million unemployment rate is predicted to top 3 million by next year. The figures last reached that level five years ago.

Gavin Laird, AEEU general secretary, said the country was experiencing 'an autumn of despair'. The worsening situation in manufacturing was an indictment of the Government's inability to form an economic policy.

Bill Jordan, AEEU president, challenged the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the union's proposals for a non-inflationary package to reverse the decline in the economy. Such a package should be put to ministers, he said.

The AEEU survey found that in the last three months Scotland had lost 1,912 jobs; the North-west 3,625; the North-east 4,304; West Midlands 6,054; East Midlands 3,468; South-west 3,218; London and the South-east 6,085; Wales 1,446 and Northern Ireland 370. Job losses where no specific region was mentioned amounted to 8,260.