This week BAE announced that 1,775 jobs would be lost in British shipbuilding, resurfacing the tension between industry and city. The deterioration of industry limits the job market to the service sector, whose wages do not rival those offered in manufacturing.
According to Pay Scale UK, your average waiter will earn £5.89 an hour, a retail assistant gets £6.45 and a cleaner £6.65. Working on a factory assembly line will earn you £7.20 an hour with an increase of 21% with experience and the option of double wage for shifts. Neither sector requires high academic qualifications, but industry’s decline has trapped many school leavers in a job market predisposed to insufficient wages. This is a perpetuating cycle: with less disposable income people spend less.
Businesses fail and local councils receive less income. As job losses rise, social previsions are cut.
In contrast, jobs in the city remain some of the highest paid, but they generally require academic qualifications and resources to set up in London. Not possessing such assets shouldn’t limit one’s job prospects. We need a service sector, these occupations should pay a fair wage.
Those made redundant will enter a competitive, lower paid job market. Over time such closures will perpetuate the problems discussed; as one redundant worker proclaimed “just hope the young ones get a good future”.