Frustration reigns

Your leader and article about the work and views of Dr Clive Hickman of Tata may produce some differing views, but there will be a huge majority who understand what he is saying and feel just as frustrated.

Part of my working life is spent in the motorsport industry and part in more normal automotive. The days of engineers being allowed to work all hours God sends have long gone in Europe. Various directives prevent us from regularly working more than a standard working week. Presumably, Indian employment law has not ‘advanced’ to such a ridiculously restrictive state yet. In my dealings with Indian component makers, they frequently send me e-mails when it must be roughly midnight over there.

The motorsport industry is still fighting this sort of thing, but mainstream automotive has succumbed to Europe, ‘rights’, and the dulcet tones of the human-resources department about work-life balance, and other self-defeating nonsense. Costs rise and employment continues to fall. On top of that, the compensation culture has reduced our ‘can-do attitude’ to a ‘daren’t-do attitude’. This frustration has actually led to many good engineers leaving the industry or even the country.

So, if Hickman is right about the absence of fire in the belly, it is not because UK engineers lost it; they had it knocked out of them.

Jonathan Douglas, Coventry