Increasing tension between industry and Government over the high value of sterling was given a public airing this week at the Engineering Employers Federation’s biennial dinner.
David Shingler, the EEF president, accused the Government of failing to act to cool consumer spending, leaving the engineering sector to take the brunt of the consequential strength of sterling. Shingler addressed his comments to trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett, the guest of honour.
In her speech Beckett admitted industry was facing a difficult climate. She urged business to ‘press ahead with work to make their businesses depend less on relatively price sensitive trades’.
Shingler also took the opportunity to warn about the Government’s Fairness at Work proposals. ‘Companies have developed a wide range of employee relations arrangements to reflect their individual culture and operational requirements. The EEF believes that this diverse approach should be encouraged and retained.’
Opinion, page 12