Unite called on the government today to develop a "strategic manufacturing plan" to build on recent growth in the sector.
The union has cautiously welcomed improved manufacturing figures for December, which showed growth in both output and new orders.
However Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said for manufacturing to boost the economy, the government needed to formulate a strategic manufacturing plan.
"Unite gives a cautious welcome to the figures for December. Any respite is welcome news for Unite members working in manufacturing."
But he pointed out there is no consistent upwards trend.
"At present the government's policy is aping Charles Dickens's Mr Micawber - crossing your fingers and hoping that something will turn up."
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