Unite calls on Tory ministers to put jobs ahead of “political ambitions” amid Toyota Brexit warning

Unite called on Tory ministers to put the livelihoods of the nation’s car workers and manufacturers ahead of self-interested political ambition after warnings from Toyota today (Tuesday 2 October) that a bad Brexit deal would impact on investment decisions.

Talking to the BBC at the Paris motor show Toyota European chief Johan van Zyl warned that an inability to sell into the EU market duty free would harm its UK operations and impact on investment decisions.

Speaking about no deal Brexit scenario he said, “If we have anything that has an impact on your competitiveness of manufacturing in the UK, it will definitely have an impact on future investment decisions.

The reason for many manufacturers being in the UK is the fact that they could export to the European market duty free – and that is a critical one.

Other carmakers, including Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan, have raised the alarm about the damage a hard Brexit could do to the UK automotive sector.

Honda has warned that a hard Brexit could cost the firm ten of millions of pounds, while BMW has brought forward a shut down at its Oxford Mini factory to March to minimise potential fallout from a hard Brexit, with chief executive Harald Krueger saying the firm was getting ready for a “period of flexibility”.

Commenting on latest warning, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said, “How loud do the alarm bells need to ring before the penny drops with Theresa May and her shambolic government that a hard Brexit or a no deal Brexit will harm investment and damage the UK car industry?

“While ministers race for pole position with the Tory faithful on who will succeed Theresa May, the country is hurtling towards a cliff edge Brexit. Tory ministers need to stop gambling with people’s jobs and put the livelihoods of the UK’s car workers and those in the supply chain ahead of their own self-interested political ambitions.

Burke added, We need a Brexit deal that protects jobs and secures tariff free access and the frictionless trade which our car industry needs to go from strength to strength.”