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All your worries about jobs and China in one story!
4

All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
I searched to find an active thread to post in but decided there were so many threads that could provide a home that maybe it should stand by itself.

This is a story that appeared in the Sun Newspaper... not exactly renowned for its journalistic prowess, more for topless models on page three. It doesn't seem to have recieved much coverage anywhere else.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/mysun/comment/view.page?storyId=2643141&submissionId=1144584&nav=jump&pageNo=1

Quote:

PLANS for the world's biggest wind farm off Britain's coast have been blown off course - by faulty windmills built on the cheap in China.

The eco-project's 140 giant turbine towers were assembled by Chinese steelworkers then ferried 4,500 miles on fuel-guzzling cargo ships.

But serious welding faults were found in many of the structures shipped to a Dutch port.

The UK's only wind turbine factory has been closed. This always sounded a bit suspect given the government commitment to wind energy, but this story explains it all. Tax payers money will actually be spent in other countries, no wonder China is doing its best to look "Green".

But it isn't just the wind turbine factory that has gone, the UK's steel industry is already suffering from the loss of many of its markets and if ever, with NuLabour (the party of nationalised industry), there was a case for spending the money in the UK, this was surely it, especially with the added justification cutting the emmissions from the ships transporting these things.

By the way, why a Dutch port? Surely, as this is a British offshore wind farm they should have come to a British port to be installed by British workers?

And what next? a colony of low paid Chinese maintenance crew living somewhere near the farm?

The story is bad enough but the Sun missed the point about British welders but this was picked up in the comments by Jonnybegood in the Netherlands:

Quote:

.....but one thing you failed to write, was that welders from the UK were brought in to correct all of the mistakes made by the Chinese. The English welders were earning 18 Euro`s an hour, while the Chinese welders were earning 4 dollars a day. As you can probably guess, all the English welders were ordered off the site, because the decission was made to bring in more Chinese welders, because they were cheaper.
Talking to a welding inspector during a break, he told me that he had never seen such appalling welding in 30 years as a welding inspector.

There are numerous examples of British workers losing out to foreign workers, not just because jobs have gone to China, but where foreign workers are coming to the UK and working cheaper that the British workers can afford to.

Europe has its own sources of cheap labour and very little government help for the working man, let alone the more skilled engineers.

I think this story sums up pretty well most of the various fears expressed in other threads and the answers to some questions that it gives are pretty worrying.

Wind Turbines already have some big questions about life time and long term costs, concerns that become even more important when taking extra large turbines offshore, but if you factor in obvious bad workmanship... if something as basic as the welding is badly done, how about the critical components? gear boxes, generators, blades?

This cannot end happily.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

This article is long and sounds like China is taking the "work" from Europe again.

The truth should be:

1. Chinese govenment is controlling the wind energy industrial also lots of heavy industrials.

2. It's always that the "simple" and low-tec is easy to be copied.

In history, lots of low-tec was moving away from weastern world, and now becomes the main growth points for most Asian contouries.

So, any countries are good at copy is not the country with contious growing cabability.

Just take it easy and more to the next generation.  

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Isen't it sort of ironic that a great deal of the problems we see are due to the factor of cheep labor.

Border problems in the US, off shoreing of jobs, poorly made equipment, poisened foods from China, and so on.

Then when we have cheep labor, we also seem to have a lack of jobs. No wonder we see drug problems, and political termoial.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

2
(OP)
The thing is, in the UK Ed Balls (some NuLabour Minister) is going round telling everyone what a boon the green energy program will be and how many jobs will be created compared to those lost in other industries.

Indeed, a great many politicians, in various countries, are hard-selling the taxpayers green energy with the story about job creation. They generally try to show more jobs in energy rather than less.

However, if the major capital investment is going out of the country and if construction crews are brought in, some of these jobs are fictitious or displaced.

This UK offshore wind farm is an example where we find that the jobs aren't being created where the money is being raised in taxes, not even locally.

This article in the Kent messenger is concerned enough about jobs going to Europe....
http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent_business/news/2009/september/4/wind_farm_jobs_blow.aspx

The whole problem with bidding these contracts is the Government has determined that green energy needs to be subsidised.

SO when it comes to handing out the contracts, there ought to be no squeamishness about handing the contracts to preferred local suppliers even if it costs more since the whole project is about "what is good for us and the planet" and not about financial prudence....

Justification? well, here it is: Quality.

The already marginal feasibility of these farms is dependent not just on build quality but on sophisticated Condition Based Monitoring schemes designed to try and keep the assets running long enough to pay back some of the cost.

They cannot afford to have them compromised by poor quality at the outset.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

This is just another classic story of the customer wanting all 3 ~ good-cheap-fast, when in reality you can only have 2.  China will always be a contender because of the inherant belief that one might be able to cheat the time proven adage.  In many cases you only get 1, depending on the company, and then it is no longer cheap because the work must be remedied, as we see in this case.

Even though job security seems like it's at its worst condition these days, it will trend back the other way soon enough.  People will get fed up with shoddy product and abyssmal service, and western companies will be smiling once again, and not just as a result of the page 3 honeys!

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
There is some difference between a poor quality lawn mower and a wind farm.

You might be able to live with your grass a bit longer but no with a brown out.  

When these assets start to fail (and not everyone is sanguine about the proposed lifetime of these things nor the actual energy deliverable) you don't want to wake up after a stormy night to find you have no power because half the farm went down.

It isn't simply a case of getting a new one from the shop.  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

JMW, a star for the thread title alone:)

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

"...you don't want to wake up after a stormy night to find you have no power because half the farm went down."

I do.

It will finally prove to the tree-huggers that we actually need big beautiful coal-burning thermal plant and nuclear plant in this country, and prove that the last 20 years of governmental indecision in lieu of an energy policy has been the abject failure those within the industry already know it to be. Maybe when the realisation dawns that generating plant from China is basically junk, like most other products that orignate there, then we may once again see it built in our own country although sadly it won't be built under a GEC or Parsons flag any more.

Hopefully Vestas has lost an absolute bloody fortune, it's a well-deserved case of poetic justice after the closure of the IoW plant to save costs and increase profit. With a bit more luck they will lose out on all future work too. I hope the lads in the UK steel industry have managed to have a bittersweet laugh at the expense of Chinese industry as they see their plants threatened with closure while our government spends our taxes in China instead of doing anything to protect our industry. Bastards.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

On the plus side, China is buying lots of coal from this area. Must be part of their "clean coal" program if they're trying to appear "green". I haven't seen any Chinese coal miners in West Virginia yet.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Sorry I'm still stuck on Page 3... o.O

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Things you can not outsource to China:
  • integrity
  • professionalism
  • craftsmanship

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Tick, yet if you actually put some effort in then it is possible to get acceptable quality components or assemblies out of China.

However if you don't put the effort in then you can get rubbish. Same goes for American firms in my experience. I am sick of being lied to by the VP of engineering (typically) during vendor selection.

Sample converstaion Me: "we want you to monitor and reject based on the vibration profile of every (assy) during its end of line test"

"That's great Greg, we already do that for customers X Y and Z"

Several months later "We will not sign the target agreement with the clause stipulating the vibration testing for each assy. You need us to sign this today in order to support your proto build".

So my management turn around to me and say, well, you are going to have to think of another solution to fix the problem caused their crummy components.

If that were a one-off I'd say, OK, treat that company with a long stick in future. But I can remember being stiffed in a similar fashion by 3 different US suppliers.

Cheers

Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

2
When will we ever learn? Being of a certain age I can remember the same arguments being used about "Jap crap" it was cheap imported rubbish and certainly not a match for the vastly superior Great British car, motorcycle, machine tool, ship building, measuring equipment industries, the list goes on beyond that.

This arrogant attitude along with the lunatics that were running the unions at the time ensured that next to none of the British companies are still are in business today whilst the Japanese ones are often market leaders and lead the way in quality.

As Greg says you can buy quality or rubbish from most countries the only difference is Chinese rubbish or quality is cheaper. If people continue to bury their head in the sand the same thing will happen. It is only by working with or in some way genuinely competing with China that companies will stay in business, to simply think that everything from China is rubbish because it is cheap and the "problem" will go away is foolish.

What is even more surprising is that anyone would expect the current British government to get this right.
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
Good comments, Greg and ajack1.
There is nothing wrong with dealing with China in a competitive market if you recognise and manage the quality and make sure the Chinese manufacture delivers on the contract.

There are two points here... one is that despite everyone else knowing these would be the focus areas, the contract obviously was inadequate unless, of course, the Chinese manufacturer is absorbing all the consequential costs of this c**k-up, but it doesn't sound like that is the case, not if they are able to send home British welders and bring in cheap Chinese welders. When things go wrong the client usually get's his way.

So let us assume that the Chinese could deliver quality if they have to. Let us also assume (not much of an assumption) that the UK government, given the chance to make a balls of it will make a balls of it. That's a given.

The second issue is, if this is not intended to be a cost cutting proposition, if we have to subsidise green electricity then we ought also to be subsidising jobs at home.

There is a point here also, how sophisticated are wind turbines?
Ship building, where it remains in Europe, is based on the high tech specialised shipping end of the market. Bulk carriers, ore carriers etc are produced cheaply in Korea and elsewhere but Cruise ships and LPG carriers and the like are produced in Europe.

Where do wind turbines fit in? Are they really simple things or are they rather more sophisticated than appears at first?
Because they have long term reliability issues, and critical pay back factor and are a critical part of an energy future that is already so far in trouble that any failure to meet expectations is going to cause problems.

I would expect the contract to be tied down in so many different ways that this very first problem would have had as many British welders on the job as necessary and more still going out to China to look at the manufacturing.
I would expect the manufacturer to be tied to the future of these turbines to the extent that any problems in the next 10 - 15 years are the manufacturer's.
I don't see any signs of that.
It worries.

Incidentally, I suspect we will find it is Eon or someone who is actually the client here, not the UK Government... and the problem is that Eon or whoever is trying to maximise profits and will try and get their cash back as early as possible... they don't have any long term energy policy commitments nor any commitment to the UK economy or jobs market, just to their shareholders, and the UK Government hasn't managed to impose its concerns on the energy company.

Maybe this is the real problem.

 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

In China, like everywhere else, you get what you pay for.  I know there are quality vendors available in Cathay, but that's not why western companies go there.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Good points ajack1 and jmw.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

ScottyUK, if your power is ever off because a wind farm went down, then the problem isen't China.

And while we are at it, if anyone trusts contractors with out verifying the quality, then exactually who is the fool?

If there is a problem with China quality, then it's our fault.
If there is a problem with the labor quality, then you get what you deserve.

The issue of China manufacturing patented materials, which is ilegal, is more irritating. It means we may have no recource for contracts gone wrong.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

For those who are unaware, quoting a story from the Sun newspaper is akin to quoting a story from the american Fox news service for its accuracy and unbiased content.  

corus

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
A well taken warning by Corus.

It is, however, a very influential newspaper read by a sizable proportion of the population, owned and managed by an Australian Republican who threw all his support behind Phoney Tony in 1997 and who has only now decided to support the Tories; the man who, if we believe his own estimations of his political clout, is a "king maker" and thus responsible for everything that has happened since.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch

Then too he had designs on China which have cost him $2billion and gained him nothing:

http://www.smh.com.au/business/murdochs-china-dream-shattered-20080125-1o77.html

So, let us just say the attitudes of his media toward China will not be favourable; his editors and his journalists write what he tells them.

Now, if that means that only he had nothing to lose by telling the truth, or that his journo's made most of it up or simply put a bad slant on it, who knows?

If I were David Cameron, I'd think twice about getting too close.

 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
It appears Murdoch Junior is a bit of a dummy and Murdoch senior had a "Ratner" moment after acquiring Star TV (all in the link above) when:

Quote:

"And satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels."

Within a month, China had banned the distribution, installation and use of satellite reception dishes anywhere in China.

Quite telling both about Murdoch et Fils and the Chinese.
Makes you wonder what China's real intentions and commitments are to climate change - a bit of window dressing to sell duff turbines, get the west grovelling for a commitment that lets them stifle any concerns about civil rights and sit mumchance while China acquires fossil fuels and minerals around the world.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Cranky108,

I agree with your comments that the problems with China are fundamentally ours. I am pretty sure I've said more-or-less the same thing in another thread (about plasterboard as I recall). The problems are twofold: at a corporate level where it is driven by greed / profit; and at a consumer level where we collectively demand cheap goods. We are unwilling to pay the prices necessary to sustain our own economies. My real concern is that our government is ultimately financing this work going overseas through subsidy and grants, at the same time it is funding the welfare payments to UK workers who until recently would have been producing the products we're buying from China. We taxpayers get hit with the costs twice over.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

ScottyUK, I agree with the goverment problems part. I just don't want people believing wind farms are a reliable source of power. So I say so often.

The comment about news sources, above; be sceptable of any news being presented. They all have sources, that may or maynot be reliable.
But also be careful about what agenda they have.

The bigger problem with China isen't the quality. As like Japan, mentioned above, they will, or can get better. But the legal aspects of patent infringment is more of a concern.

Also which country was makeing counterfit bolts a number of years ago?

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

I think we agree. I can only repeat my earlier comment: "(a blackout) will finally prove to the tree-huggers that we actually need big beautiful coal-burning thermal plant and nuclear plant in this country, and prove that the last 20 years of governmental indecision in lieu of an energy policy has been the abject failure those within the industry already know it to be."

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Hang on, when the US congress was putting the 'stimulus package' (nothing to do with page 3) together, and wanted to stipulate things like using US steel I seem to recall Europe, even GB, crying fowl and calling it protectionism.

I happen to think that if taxes raised off the backs of the population of country X are to be used for this kind of thing, it's not unreasonable to expect much, if not all (or it's equivalent in off-sets) of the tax money to be spent in country X.

I recall one comentator at the time saying he didn't really care if other places thought it was protectionism.  So long as they responded in king by large programs of domestic spending it would probably improve things even better.  Had some logic to it.  Although, that's probably not how the EU etc would have responded.

However, this is probably some kind of crazy left wing pinko commy thinking or something.

Oh hang on, the country taking this tax money is a pinko commy country.

(By the way, was it ever determined why it's OK for the US to trade itself into a massive deficit with a nulear armed potentially dangerous 'communist' country like China, but not to even buy a few cigars from Cuba? - NIMBY?)

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Oh, and as to the quality issue, I have to agree that varies within one country, without having to go to china.  While it seems it often isn't done, having the appropriate measures of explicitly stating your requirements and then enforcing them should eventually work, unless you hit Gregs catch 22 situation.  

The issue on patent infringement and related issues around the lack of a functioning civil courts system or substitute is a concern that's less easily subverted by crying 'free market'.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Why would anyone think it protectionest for a goverment to demand it's incentive payments to be only used domestically?

Protectionest, to me, is enacting laws, or taxes to restrict products from other countries.
It has nothing to do with how the money is spent.

Is it protectionest if I refuse to buy products from China? No, it is a decision that I make. It would be no different if it was a decision a goverment makes (As long as it is not a tax or lay restricting trade).

If you don't like China, or goods from China, don't buy there goods, or boycot them. It's your choice, and you vote with your money.
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

"Why would anyone think it protectionest for a goverment to demand it's incentive payments to be only used domestically?"

Because politicians are liars. That means an government which wishes to establish protectionism can do so under the guise of incentive payments.
 

Cheers

Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Kenat,

I thing there's a definite distinction between illegal trade restrictions protecting an inefficient and high-cost industry from foreign competition, and a government choosing to spend its tax revenue in the domestic market for the overall benefit of the country it is responsible for rather than overseas.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

A very funny article.  The Sun always makes me laugh and cringe at the same time.  Proud to be British.

- Steve

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Wait a minute. British experts are being flown into Holland to sort out the mess from chinese workers?? Why aren't the right wing nationalistic Dutch people complaining about all these jonny furregners coming itno their country when they could do the work? Dutch jobs for Dutch workers I say. harrumph.

corus

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Here's what happens with importing cheap labour to fix their own work.

The Chinese welders discover they like some things about welding in Rotterdam.  They get some foreign travel expense pay, in Euros!  Probably some nice equipment too like welding goggles and masks, maybe even clean gasses and weld rod that doesn't spit, bubble, burn.  But hard currency expense pay!

They'll buddy up 10 to a room, refund other hotel or camp fees pocketing the currency.  Get back home with an extra couple of months or years of cash in their pocket.  Unbelievable wealth.

Stuck in the welding yard back home, plans are hatched on next big welding project for UK or where ever: hot to get me a year or two of extra pay in a couple of weeks.


I know, it's quite facetious.  But foreign conference and overseas work teams sent from Africa do this, not manual labour but academic, health, etc. workers.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
Corus,
you have a point, it should be Dutch workers in Holland.

But the kit shouldn't have gone to Holland either, it should have been delivered to the UK.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

I wonder if the british workers (nay immigrants) hired to work in Holland, undercut the Dutch workers pay? Just a thought.  

corus

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Euroland doesn't have British or Dutch workers, they are all European.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

OK, my definition is a little broad, you may substitute with EU.  

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

If the UK wanted to be a dominant economic power, it missed its chance with Dolly. Why clone a sheep that doesn't know how to cook?

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

I have found that most sheep cook very well. The addition of a little mint sauce helps improve the taste even further.

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

Eating sheep is wasting them!  Mint sauce stings too.

- Steve

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

There is a story today, where a source in the China military admits there will be wars over space.

Does that have any bearing on the military buildups in China?

Or maybe they need a larger military to extract the debt the US owe's them?

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

(OP)
OK, so China has cheap labour and can compete on IP and will deliver the quality.
What's left for the west but simply to act as consumers?
What is it that China does that we should do? (or should have done already because its probably too late now.)
How does the west compete?
We are not self sufficient in food or energy we have high labour rates, devastating taxation, a growing population and a falling/failing economy.
We are paying a tax subsidy for an energy source we increasingly look like we have to have because government has not made the commitment necessary to secure our energy future based on "clean coal", gas, oil or nuclear.
We will pay a carbon offset to China and we buy our wind turbines and our solar power plants from them.
They have already bought up parts of our car industry, they have bought into most of the critical mineral and fuel resources around the world so we may not even have access to the resources we might need to get ourselves back together.
They effectively "own" the Panama canal, built and paid for by the Americans, they own great chunks of docklands, harbours, and shipping.

You know, China is even self-sufficient in consumers... they really don't need the west for much, and soon wont have any use for us at all.
I wonder what happens then?
Is there a reason they are talking about space wars?

Looks like we are well and truly shafted, does it not?
Or does it?
Any ideas?

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: All your worries about jobs and China in one story!

I disagree that the West could not be self-sufficent. We own large amounts of coal, natural gas, offshore oil resurves, and uranium. We are a net exporter of rice, wheat, and corn if we wanted to. We also are a net exporter of meats including beef, chicken, turkey, and pork.

And if we wanted, we could invite a larger population than China.

What we don't have is because our goverment won't let us have (Is there something wrong with that).

There are other countries with over population that would be more than willing to export to the US, but we are the ones setting the limits.

 

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