May 22, 2006 06:55 ET

Trade union leader to urge action to save the UK car industry

LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - May 22, 2006) - Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Amicus, is to warn MPs that urgent action is necessary to maintain any kind of car industry in the UK.

In giving evidence to the Trade and Industry Select Committee on Tuesday (23rd May) the union leader will say that flexible employment laws in the UK are making car manufacturing jobs here more vulnerable to multinationals needing to make cuts in Europe.

The union leader will be talking to MPs following closures and job cuts announced at the Peugeot Ryton plant in Coventry (2,300 jobs) and at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port (900 jobs) in the last month.

Derek Simpson will also say that when car manufacturers invest in their plants and in workers skills, UK workers have demonstrated that they can attain record levels of productivity as at Nissan, Toyota and Honda factories.

Amicus' head will warn that the performance of the UK economy is already suffering the effect of the loss of these high skilled and highly paid jobs which are not being replaced. The union's own research shows that when car workers lose their jobs they struggle to find work again, rarely find manufacturing jobs and take pay cuts averaging a half or a third of their former salaries, with devastating effects.

Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Amicus, said:" UK worker's are being sacrificed at the altar of a flexible labour market and economy. Apart from the devastating effect these cuts are having on the individuals who lose their jobs, their families and their communities, there is also a horrendous impact on the whole economy because the jobs that are replacing them are low paid, low skilled and even more insecure.

"If this situation is allowed to continue who in the UK is going to be able to buy a car at all?"

Derek Simpson has warned that unions will organise boycotts against companies that chose to close UK plants and move production abroad.

GM's European President, Carl-Peter Forster said two weeks ago that the UK's flexible labour market allowed for making car industry cuts here as opposed to other European plants. 900 job cuts at Vauxhalls were announced a few days later.

The Jaguar Browns Lane plant in Coventry and the MG Rover plant in Longbridge closed last year.

Note to editors
Derek Simpson will be giving evidence to the Trade Select Committee on Tuesday 23rd May at 11 am in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House.

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Contact Information

  • Amicus
    Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315