Vital UK car industry has to be safeguarded after Brexit, say Unite

The UK car industry and its workforce, which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, must be listened to, safeguarded and secured against the Brexit vote, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 29 June).

Unite called on government and the car industry to work with Unite to protect a world class industry, with a highly skilled workforce, to ensure that investment keeps flowing into an industry which as recently as April reported a 16.4 per cent increase in car production compared with April 2015.

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: “In the last 15 years we have seen a renaissance in the UK automotive industry, which now contributes more than £15 billion to the UK economy.

“As recently as April, a 16.4 per cent boost in car production was reported and the UK manufactured content of cars has risen to 41 per cent.

“Unite argued the automotive sector – and manufacturing generally – needed to remain in the EU to maintain access to the European ‘single market’; to maintain exports to the EU; and to maintain investment to protect decent, skilled jobs, infrastructure investment, and research and development.

“Post-Brexit, we need to establish a stable environment where investment continues to flow to support new models coming on stream, giving confidence to the workforce in the car manufacturers and the supply chain about their employment future.

“Good industrial relations have been one of the hallmarks in the resurgence of the UK car industry during the last decade and Unite is strongly committed to working with industry leaders and ministers to secure our automotive industry and ensure our members’ interests are listened to and safeguarded.

“We are living through a time of great uncertainty – but the fundamentals of the world class UK automotive industry remain strong – and unchanged.

“The UK exports excellent cars to more than 100 countries; we have a skilled and flexible workforce and we have a shared determination to see this crucial industry is safeguarded.”

Tony Burke was commenting after automotive industry leaders attended the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) summit in London today (Wednesday 29 June) which was also addressed by business secretary Sajid Javid.