The row between Midland manufacturers and business bosses over the benefits of sending work abroad has escalated with the resignation of a metal processing firm from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
Kirsty Davies, director and general manager of Smethwick-based Professional Polishing Services, said she was disgusted that the Chamber should condone any move that threatened manufacturing jobs in the region.
The row began following the circulation of a letter from the Chamber, the city council and the Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands to local firms urging them - where appropriate - to consider offshoring.
The letter was seeking to drum up support for a Birmingham Manufacturing Network meeting to take place at the Chamber on January 15.
Ms Davies said she was angry because she felt that the Chamber should be doing more to support the interests of manufacturing rather than encouraging firms to export work abroad at the expense of local jobs.
"We wrote to the Chamber and told them we were not impressed by what they were doing and, despite discussions, I have not been mollified.
"The Chamber have rung me to see if I will change my mind but I will not," she said. "The local manufacturing industry has taken a real battering in the last 20 years and we feel that the Chamber should be supporting us better than it is," she added.
The company has been a member of the Chamber since the 1980s but Ms Davies said that despite receiving assurances from the organisation that it was acting in the best interests of local business, she was adamant that she was going to resign.
"They tried to convince us that they were supporting business in the region but with what they are proposing, they will take work away from the West Midlands and once you do that then you will never get it back.
"It may be old fashioned but I think firms have a moral duty to protect their employees and exporting manufacturing abroad is no way to do that," she said.
"I don't believe that the Chamber should be holding this seminar and what they should be doing instead is encouraging firms to stay and invest in the UK," she added.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the Chamber, said he was disappointed by the reaction to the letter but admitted that maybe it could have been phrased better.
He also said he had had a long conversation with Ms Davies in the hope of changing her mind.
"She is clearly passionate about protecting local manufacturing and we might not have written the letter as well as we could have," he said.
However, he said he still respected the decision of members and they were free to do as they wished.
"We do support manufacturing the region but we also recognise there may be times when it could be best to source manufacturing offshore," he said.
Confirming that the seminar would still go ahead, he added: "It's the right sort of information to be putting in front of our members as it will allow them to make an informed choice for their business."
He said that many businesses which had sourced their manufacturing abroad had seen benefits and many had even attracted new business as a result.
Russell Luckock, head of Birmingham presswork group AE Harris, said he had received a big response to the letter and firms were far from happy by what was being proposed.
"I just don't know what's got into them (the Chamber) - they are trying to defend the indefensible," he said. "We feel this is the wrong time to be proposing something like this because the tide in manufacturing is turning.
"People are fed up with Chinese prices and quality and, as a result, a lot of work is returning to the area."