How will UK manufacturing be affected by the higher living wage?
According to an annual survey of manufacturing executives, almost a fifth of British manufacturers are now considering restructuring or reducing their workforce due to the oncoming introduction of the higher minimum wage.
Britain's reputation as a reliable place to do business has been shaken by manufacturing woes. This time last year, 70 percent of survey respondents said they saw Britain as a competitive market for the industry, but that figure has now fallen to just 56 percent.
Businesses are now feeling the need to reduce their operations rather than expanding; Chief Economist at EEF, Lee Hopley, told Financial Times: "Partly we might attribute this to rising business cost pressures, particularly around employment costs and regulations."
Many employers are now under pressure to provide more funding for apprenticeships, as well as dealing with additional costs in the form of auto-enrolment pensions and the higher living wage. Many manufacturers already pay more than the soon-to-be minimum £7.20 hourly rate to over 25's, but some smaller companies don't. These businesses are concerned that higher-paid staff are likely to seek wage rises, with 19 percent claiming they would need to restructure or reduce their workforce.
The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that the new national living wage will cost the UK 60,000 jobs by 2020.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.