Steel giant is model firm says TUC boss

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady
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The leader of the trade union movement in Britain today hailed Forgemasters “a model of employment and apprenticeships” - and then said Sheffield needed a pay rise.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady also urged the Government to help energy intensive firms become greener - or risk the economy continuing to rely on financial services in London and the South East.

She was touring the 800-strong engineering firm ahead of a speech at the Sheffield Political Research Institute.

She said: “Britain needs to back more companies like Sheffield Forgemasters. World-leading manufacturing is crucial for creating the quality jobs we need.

“We can’t build a lasting recovery on the back of zero-hours contracts and low-paid self-employment.

“The success of Sheffield Forgemasters in winning contracts and attracting investment shows what can be achieved when forward-looking employers work closely with unions to improve skills, boost productivity and create jobs.

“But the government should be doing far more to help manufacturers in Yorkshire and across the UK.

“At a time when our competitor nations are spending heavily on supporting their energy-intensive industries to become greener, a failure to act is a false economy.

“Unless we increase investment in low-carbon technologies now we will not be able to compete in the future. In places like Germany, for example, there is far more state aid to help companies cut energy costs so they can grow and become more efficient.”

She went on to say that Sheffield needed a pay rise.

“In a healthy economy, workers’ wages grow faster than their debts. What we really need is a wages-led recovery in the public and private sector, not a debt-fuelled bubble.”

Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “We firmly believe in providing rewarding careers with fair levels of pay. Many shop floor staff are shareholders and, collectively, we work towards a strong future for company and employees.”