Letter : The Welsh earn more, not less

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The Independent Online
It is not true that manufacturing workers in Wales are low- paid, nor that Far Eastern firms are coming here simply because of low wages ("Asian tigers lured by low pay...", 26 May).

The examples in the article - an assistant shop manager, a security guard and cleaners - are typical of the low-paid service-type jobs which bring wages in Wales below UK averages. Manufacturing is an entirely different picture. In fact Welsh production-line employees earn more than their English counterparts. The average weekly wage for manual workers in Wales is pounds 315 - about pounds 7 an hour.

Of course one is concerned with low wages but it is important to see the whole picture. It is oversimplifying a far more complex issue to suggest Korean companies such as Halla (which will be manufacturing fork-lift trucks and heavy earth-moving equipment at Merthyr Tydfil) base their decisions essentially on one criterion. These are hard-headed business decisions and a whole series of factors are taken into account. We in Merthyr Tydfil are pleased that companies like Halla are choosing our area and we look forward to the jobs being created. Many of the 310 jobs will be skilled and well paid.

The Low Pay Unit report on which this article is based does no justice to either the attractions of South Wales for business investments or the complex decision-making processes the companies engage in.

Ray Pearce

Economic development officer

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council