Unite the Union

Unite the Union

January 14, 2008 06:11 ET

Unite Urge Government Help to Secure the UK Motor Industry

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 14, 2008) - Unite say more government assistance is required to help the UK's motor industry.

Unite, the UK's largest trade union, say that although 35,000 jobs have been lost in the UK's automotive industry in the last ten years the sector still employs 210,000 people in the design and manufacture of vehicles and components and contributes around Pounds Sterling 9 bn added value to the economy annually.

Unite is hosting an event for MPs in the House of Commons today (Tuesday 15th January) and launching a document, 'Ripping the heart out of the UK's motor industry'. It will also be attended by Stephen Timms, the Minister of State for competitiveness at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

Unite is calling on the government to:

- Introduce a procurement policy that supports UK jobs at agreed at Warwick

- Improve employment protection for all workers

- Increase redundancy payments and introduce social compensation plans for workers that lose their jobs

- Invest in effective training programmes for manufacturing industries

- The strengthening of the information and consultation rights to include
negotiations with trade unions backed up by legislation and substantial fines for those that fail to comply

- Appoint a minister for manufacturing

Derek Simpson, Joint General Secretary of Unite who will be speaking at the event in Parliament which will be attended by Minister's and MPs, said: "The UK remains a competitive manufacturing location for automotive products, largely due to the skills of its' workforce and the industry's capacity and willingness to adapt to new challenges. Yet too many factories are closing, sometimes with companies turning their backs on this country in search of cheaper labour elsewhere such as Peugeot which shamefully abandoned its Coventry workforce.

"With the loss of the Jaguar Brown's Lane plant in 2004, the Rover plant at Longbridge in 2006 and the shadow hanging over the Jaguar and Land Rover factories as Ford prepares to sell up, now is the time for the government to do more to protect our manufacturing base. By extending the same sort of assistance that is taken for granted in other European countries, we can build a much stronger sector and help generate more jobs and exports."

Unite has also asked MPs to investigate the procurement record of their local authorities in buying UK built vehicles. They and research compiled by Unite reveals that 74% of vehicles procures and used by central and local government bodies are not produced in the UK.

Notes to editors

1. The UK motor industry produces 1.6 million units a year and the automotive sector economy and accounts for 11% of total UK goods exports.

2. Manufacturing generates 15% of the UK's GDP and Pounds Sterling 147 billion in exports. Yet over 300,000 jobs have been lost in manufacturing since 2005 alone.

Contact Information

  • Unite Press Office
    Catherine Bithell
    020 7 420 8909 or 07958 473 224