Workers from some of the UK’s biggest manufacturers will warn the government against a no deal Brexit coup and demand detailed answers over jobs and future investment when they meet Michael Gove tomorrow (Thursday 29 August) at 12 noon in the Cabinet Office on Whitehall.
The delegation led by Jack Dromey MP, Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing and Jude Brimble, GMB national secretary for manufacturing will include convenors from Unite and the GMB. They will warn that a no deal Brexit will be a catastrophic disaster, destroying skilled manufacturing jobs and communities across the UK.
Representing workers at firms including Airbus, AstraZeneca, British Steel, Burton’s Biscuits, Jaguar Land Rover, Nestle, Rolls-Royce, Scottish Whisky Industry, Toyota, Vauxhall and Wedgewood, the convenors will demand detailed answers on six key areas in the event of a no deal Brexit (detailed below).
Unite and GMB representatives will be available for interview before and after the meeting.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Workers who will be at the sharp end of a no deal Brexit will be telling Michael Gove ‘no deal, no way’ and laying out in no uncertain terms the damage that a no deal Brexit will do to their jobs and communities.
“Boris Johnson and his friends in the wealthy elite will be sitting pretty in the event of a no deal Brexit as workers, their families and communities pay the price with their livelihoods. Suspending parliament in a no deal Brexit coup imperils the livelihoods of millions of people and does not address some of the very critical questions on which millions of people’s jobs depend.
“Overnight industries such as steel could see the floodgates open to the dumping of cheap inferior steel from overseas in the event of a no deal Brexit. Meanwhile the just in time supply chains which are central to the success of our carmakers and aerospace companies could come shuddering to a halt risking the competitiveness of UK manufacturing and the jobs it sustains.
“The government has been silent on how it will protect jobs and attract investment. Instead it seems hell bent on strangling UK manufacturing and the communities it sustains on the altar of a no deal Brexit.
“Workers will be demanding answers and making it clear they will hold Boris Johnson and his government personally responsible for every job lost in the event of disastrous no deal Brexit.”
Jude Brimble, GMB national secretary for manufacturing, said: “A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for UK manufacturing and the millions of men and women whose livelihoods depend on it.
“The threat of no deal has already seen our manufacturing output plummet, investment frozen while companies spend millions stockpiling and production shifted overseas.
“If Michael Gove thinks ‘we hold all the cards’, then lets strike a deal that protects UK manufacturing jobs – rather than crashing out in chaos.”
The key areas the unions will be pressing Michael Gove for answers on are:
- The steps the government is taking to protect cross border ‘just in time’ supply chains that are central to the success of UK manufacturing, future investment and jobs.
- In the event of a no deal Brexit, UK manufacturers will face new tariffs when exporting to Europe and other markets, while the government claims it may slash import tariffs to zero. Overnight this will put thousands of good jobs at risk, with UK manufacturers facing a double whammy of a home market flooded with cheap tariff free goods and imposed tariffs on their exports. What steps will ministers take to mitigate this?
- What trade defence measures will the government introduce to replace anti-dumping protections offered by current European Union rules, protecting UK steel, ceramic and tyre manufacturers against the dumping of cheap inferior products from countries such as China?
- What support government intends to provide to protect jobs, research and development and wider investment in our small and medium sized companies that are critical to the on-going supply of components to major manufacturers in the event of a no deal Brexit.
- Major manufacturers such as the car giant PSA have put investment decisions on hold, putting the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port car plant at risk. How will ministers instil the immediate and long-term business confidence needed to secure the foreign direct investment required to sustain UK manufacturing jobs and communities?
- What steps is the government taking to secure the necessary warehousing required to mitigate border delays alongside the instillation of logistical and technical support at ports to facilitate frictionless in and outbound transport operations.