Amicus-AEEU

Amicus-AEEU

December 07, 2006 10:40 ET

Amicus say training and skills proposals too little too late

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 07, 2006) - Amicus says that the skills and training proposals in yesterday's pre-budget speech and the recently published Leitch Report are largely irrelevant if the UK continues to shed jobs at the current rate.

The union wants to see employment legislation introduced now in the UK to preserve the highly skilled jobs being lost abroad. It also says that the skills training proposals made over the last two days will fall short of their intention to boost UK competitiveness.

Although both the pre-budget report and the Leitch Report recognise the need for radical changes to workplace training, Amicus says the failure to introduce a statutory entitlement for all employees to workplace training and statutory employer investment will see them fail.

The union, which has been at the forefront of skills and training agenda, has also criticised the intention to only consider the introduction of employer training levies by 2010 as a missed opportunity.

Tony Burke, Amicus Assistant General Secretary, said:

"Let us not forget why we are in this position in the first place. Employers have neglected to invest in the skills of their workforces for decades. This under-investment means that we now have to run just to stand still in terms of up-skilling. Without a legal obligation on employers to invest in the skills of their workforce we are in danger of blowing a golden opportunity.

"Over the last decade trade unions have embraced an additional role in the workplace, designed to support their members through learning. However unless there is a greater statutory obligation on employers, then companies can continue to simply ignore the problem and instead focus on the CBI's argument of 'red-tape' and bureaucracy than the real issues - with many relocating overseas to use cheap labour to avoid this badly needed investment in the UK."

The manufacturing union says the UK's skills industry is churning out millions of young people who don't have even basic skills, let alone fulfil the government's vision for a high value added workforce.

Bernard Rutter, Head of Organising Learning and Skills within the Amicus Graphical, Paper & Media sector, added:

"In the UK print sector, the union and the employer's organisation, the British Printing Industries Federation, are working in partnership to eradicate skill gaps across the industry. We have a Learning and Skills Clause in our National Agreement which obliges companies to work in partnership with our Union Learning Reps. This demonstrates, very clearly, that the most sensible way to approach this issue is for employers to recognise that they cannot tackle this issue alone - they need the support and experience of trade unions."

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