Friday, 10 October 2008
WHERE HAS ALL OUR INDUSTRY GONE?
This is a subject very close to my heart, I have to say. Many people have asked me over the past few weeks why we called the blog pitsnpots, well it's very simple, when I was a pupil at the then Hanley High School (now Mitchell High) we had a career advisor who's favourite saying was "it pits 'n' pots for you useless lot!" That's what Stoke was all about to us naive school leavers. It was only the really clever pupils that went on to further education and fewer still went on to university. The vast majority of school leavers got an apprenticeship if they were lucky but for the most it was off to a "pot bank" or down the pit!
Well over the last 25 years the cities industries have gone into terminal decline. Very few pottery firms are left and there is no mining industry within the five towns. Big employers in our cities are changing beyond recognition and worse still are massively downsizing. Look at Doultons, Wedgewood, Creda, Michelin the loss completely of Shelton Bar and the Tile Manufacturers Wrists Wires & Cables, the list is endless. In our city we always had a proud engineering tradition, but very few of these small independent engineers have survived. To read that JCB are just coming to the end of their consultation period before making up to 700 employees redundant. I know many lads who working on the various JCB factories and these men are constantly worried for their future. This credit crunch has hit the housebuilding industry hard, building companies are discounting existing housing stock by up to 40%.The world markets along with it's banking industry is in turmoil.
JCB have been a mainstay employer in this area 60 years and pay a decent wage for a decent day's work. The companies employees have a enjoyed a fair standard of living.
Our skilled industries and workforce are being lost to storage, warehousing and distribution type businesses. The average weekly wage in this city is around £360 in comparison to the national average weekly wage of £450 a difference of £90.
With the loss of 700 jobs from JCB along with other redundancies across the area can only lead to the weekly wage average falling even lower.
What can be done to attract better jobs with higher than average wages? what do we expect our politicians to do? Is it not the job of the Elected Mayor to be the Cities ambassador and go out to sell our city to the blue chip companies from inside and outside the UK? If the city does end with the BNP running it would that effect investment coming in to our city and damage our reputation?
The Sentinel story can be view by clicking this link: