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Blame the unions for the closures.

KEVIN Flanagan agrees with Steve Hall's criticism of Margaret Thatcher without, it seems, being able to recognise the contradictions in Mr Hall's letter in which he agreed with my criticisms of the malignant activities of trade unions whilst finding it possible to throw in the old left-wing claim that Mrs Thatcher destroyed Britain's manufacturing base.

The sad fact is that our manufacturers, shipyards and other large industrial companies had been on the skids for decades prior to Mrs T's arrival on the scene. They were the victims of trade union-inspired over-manning, restrictive practices and constant strikes, which made them hopelessly unproductive and uncompetitive.

I remember making a visit in the early 1970s to the Solihull factory of Joseph Lucas (Electrical) Ltd. The manager told me that they were losing business to Japanese factories who were producing the same car components and selling them to Lucas's customers at lower prices. Lucas's ill-informed management decided to invest in the superior machines that they supposed the Japanese were using. However, they discovered that the machines in the Japanese factories were the same as those in the their own factory. The difference was in the Japanese working methods which did not have the restrictive practices which regularly caused machines in Lucas's factory to lie idle for hours.

The final, inevitable and predictable, crash came when Margaret Thatcher happened to be Prime Minister, which gave the trade unions and their left-wing supporters the chance to blame her for what were, in reality, their own destructive activities.

AJ Hubble, Burntwood

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 31, 2014
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