Thursday, 11 January 2007
One of Dundee's last big manufacturing employers has announced that it is to cut 650 jobs in Dundee and move production to a plant in Hungary.
How depressing. Dundee has lost a lot of manufacturing jobs over the years, but this one, with the knock-on job losses to suppliers etc., really is sad. I can imagine there must be a real black cloud hanging over the city at the moment. It's just a sad consequence of globalisation. There's no way manufacturing in the UK can compete with cheaper workforces in Eastern Europe and beyond.
I was watching a BBC2 programme the other day with Jon Snow explaining that the UK was moving away from manufacturing to become a "knowledge economy". Fair enough. Dundee has a very good biotechnology sector, which now employs around 3,800 people and accounts for 15% of the local economy.
Somehow though, I doubt these 650 NCR workers will be donning lab coats and taking up molecular biology. With no offence meant to people who work in supermarkets and the like, I always think it's a real shame when these skilled workers are told that they could get a job stacking shelves or working a checkout till. That must be so demoralising.
I sometimes wish I was a rich Richard Branson-type, and could invest all my money in Dundee. Trying to help set up companies and stuff like that. I think I've played too much Sim City. Hey, you never know - maybe one day I'll be a Venture Capitalist and set up a fund for biotech start-ups in Dundee!