Unite the Union

Unite the Union

July 11, 2007 07:28 ET

Drive to Save Manufacturing

Photo Opportunity & News Item Petition Delivery: 10 Downing Street Time: 12.00pm - 12.30pm Demonstration Venue: Parliament Square: On slip road Little George Street between Victoria Street and Great George Street Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 11, 2007) - Unite Britain's biggest union will drive a Peugeot painted with slogans to Parliament Square to join present and former workers from the car industry in a demonstration.

The demonstration will mark the delivery of a petition with 40 000 signatures to 10 Downing Street. The petition calls on the new Prime minister, Gordon Brown to introduce a level playing field with Europe on employment and social rights. Workers from the car industry will also meet with MPs at the House of Commons to call on them to support Unite's demands.

Unite Joint General Secretary, Derek Simpson says,

"This car is a reminder of British manufacturing at its best. Yet Peugeot sacked 2500 and now Land Rover and Jaguar jobs are under threat from private equity acquisition.

We're here today to call on the new Prime Minister to defend UK manufacturing and introduce a level playing field with Europe on employment and social rights.

Well paid, full manufacturing employment is being replaced by low paid, part time jobs. Secure jobs can only be protected by stronger employment laws than we currently enjoy in the UK."

Slogans painted on the cars include: "This car is made in Coventry next model Slovakia", "support UK manufacturing", "Unite fighting for UK jobs"

Staff at Land Rover and Jaguar are currently under threat from private equity (pe). Unite believes that if a bid for the operations from pe are successful there could be more job losses which would have a devastating effect on local communities.

In 2006, Peugeot announced the closure of its Coventry plant with the loss of 2,500 jobs. Unite launched a massive campaign to boycott Peugeot in the UK.

MG Rover went into administration on the 8th April 2005 when the car deal with the Chinese company Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) collapsed and the company did not have sufficient cash to continue trading. The subsequent closure of the Longbridge site in the West Midlands on 15th April 2005 led to the loss of almost 6000 jobs.

A survey of former Rover workers released by Amicus shows damming evidence contradicting the Government's arguments for weak labour laws. Since Rover closed in April 2005 23% of its former workers are still unemployed or on a training scheme and 20% of those workers who have found work are now earning the equivalent of the minimum wage compared to an average salary of Pounds Sterling 22,000 at MG Rover.

Many workers said there was no provision for financial support if they wanted to re-train. Instead many were forced to take lower paid jobs because of their immediate financial and family commitments.

Past and present workers from Peugeot, Rover, Land Rover, Jaguar, Bentley and Vauxhall will be present at the demonstration.

Contact Information

  • Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315