Having worked in the wire industry at Kiveton Park Steel and Wire from 1956 until 1970, due to much investment, new methods of production and reasonable negotiation between the management and union to reduce the price paid per cwt of output, in the wire drawing department output rose from a maximum per machine per shift of 30 cwt in 1956 to over 20 tonnes on the thicker sizes of wire drawn in 1970. This one would expect would increase profitability and reduce the cost of production. However, due to the increase in productivity throughout the industry and increased foreign competition, the worldwide demand for wire was not large enough to absorb the productivity within the industry. The result of this was large scale redundancies eventually resulting in closure of many wire producing companies. In Sheffield area alone we have seen Arthur Lees, Hemmings, Hillsborough Stainless Steel, Fox Wire, Umbrako, Brierley’s and a large part of Tinsley Wire Industries all being closed down. We have seen the same happen in other industries where productivity has improved but demand has fallen; I suppose this has to be accepted as the norm.
Having said all this, it sickens me to see the number of MPs in the House of Commons, ever increasing numbers in the House of Lords and now the MEP sitting in the European Parliament plus the hierarchy of that organisation, some of whom, in my view, have never done a hard day’s work in their life, telling us that the only answer to the economic problems we face is for greater productivity to be continue and for all genuine workers to work even harder.
I would ask can we afford to continue paying for facilities to house this ever increasing number of politicians, advisers and their ever increasing wages and expenses?
I would suggest it is high time that seriously consideration is given to applying productivity within these three levels of Government, particularly if sadly the June referendum results in us remaining in the EU, surely at least one level could be declared redundant.