Focus on net zero & stop letting UK manufacturing jobs disappear, GMB urges Government

13 June 2022


Race to net zero could revolutionise UK manufacturing, creating new green employment opportunities – but Government let jobs disappear overseas, says GMB trade union, as its analysis finds that almost 200,000 UK manufacturing jobs have been lost over the last 2 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK lost 170,000 manufacturing jobs during the pandemic, GMB analysis shows. The damning statistics were revealed alongside GMB’s Annual Congress, which took place in Harrogate today (June 13, 2022).

They show 170,400 jobs in the sector disappeared between 2019 and 2021, a fall of almost 6% in just two years. In 2019, the UK supported 2.9 million permanent and temporary manufacturing jobs By the start of this year, the had fallen to 2.7 million.

Every region and nation in the UK has experienced a decline in manufacturing employment. The worst affected region by total job losses – the East Midlands – lost more than 31,000 manufacturing jobs. This was a loss of one in ten manufacturing jobs in the region.

Charlotte Childs, GMB National Officer said: “Almost 200,000 jobs manufacturing jobs lost during the pandemic is devastating for communities. Unless Ministers address this urgently there could be worse to come.

The race to net zero could revolutionise UK manufacturing; tens of thousands of new, green jobs in wind, solar, nuclear, and more. Instead, this Government seems determined to let them all disappear overseas.

This drop came on top of a fall of almost half a million UK manufacturing jobs in the previous 10 years. At GMB's Annual Congress in 2019, GMB data showed that 476,500 jobs in the sector had disappeared between 2008 and 2018, a massive fall of 14%. In 2008, the UK supported 3.4 million permanent and temporary manufacturing jobs – which accounted for more than 11% of all employment. But by 2018, that number had slumped to just 2.9 million, or 9% of the total.

Every region in the UK experienced a decline in manufacturing employment over that 10-year period, but the three worst affected regions – the North West, London and Scotland – lost 21% (93,400), 34% (71,400) and 20% (52,500) of their manufacturing jobs respectively.

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