Theresa May’s Brexit paralysis is leaving the jewel in the UK’s manufacturing crown hanging by a thread, Britain and Ireland’s largest union Unite said today (Thursday 21 March) as an expected announcement about investment into the car industry was abandoned.
Reports in The Telegraph claim that the business secretary Greg Clark was set to appear at a ground breaking ceremony of a new battery facility in Coventry today, but cancelled as the government becomes increasingly rudderless.
UK car workers are battling for their future amid a slew of job loss announcements in the UK automotive sector and Honda’s announcement that it plans to close its Swindon factory.
Unite estimates that the Honda Swindon closure could result in 3,500 direct jobs going and a further 12,000 in the supply chain. Unite has called a march and rally through Swindon for 30 March to highlight the devastation on the community of the Honda closure.
Earlier this week Unite warned of a deepening jobs crisis in UK manufacturing after the latest jobs figures showed 130 manufacturing jobs had been lost every day, or one every 12 minutes, in the six months June to December 2018.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Car workers should have been welcoming a much needed shot in the arm for the industry’s transition to electric and alternatively powered vehicles today. Instead they face continued uncertainty thanks to Theresa May’s Brexit chaos which is paralysing her rudderless government.
“The car industry is facing unprecedented challenges amid weakening global sales and the government’s demonisation of diesel. With investment plummeting, job losses racking up and Honda planning to leave the UK what does the government do? It fiddles while Rome burns as Theresa May menaces the nation with the chaos of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
“We are in the middle of a manufacturing emergency with 130 manufacturing jobs being lost every day in the UK. It’s time for the government to wake up before it is too late.
“The government needs to take the Brexit handbrake off its support for the car industry by throwing its full weight behind the fight to persuade Honda to stay in the UK and by properly supporting the transition to electric and alternative powered vehicles.”