Unite: Car industry risks being sent into reverse by govt’s botched Brexit approach

The hard work of Britain’s car workers risks being put into reverse, thanks to the government’s botched handling of Brexit and government ministers’ assault on diesel, Unite the union warned today (Monday 7 January).

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The warning from Unite, the UK’s largest union representing car workers, comes amid new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing new car registrations fell by nearly 7 per cent last year.

Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “The UK car industry is a global leader and a source of highly skilled well paid jobs not only in major manufacturers, but throughout the supply chain.

“All this is at risk of going into reverse, along with the hard work of Britain’s car workers, thanks to the government’s botched handling of Brexit and continued economic uncertainty.

“To make matters worse, the car industry has seen the demonisation of diesel by government ministers, despite the UK making some of the cleanest engines in the world.

“The result has not just seen diesel sales fall off a cliff edge, but it has made it harder for emission targets to be met as people switch or hold on to petrol cars, which emit more CO2 than diesel vehicles.

“Instead of slashing grants to help people switch to electric and alternatively powered cars, we need the government to spearhead a strategy that ensures the UK car industry retains jobs, skills and its global leading status as it transitions away from combustion engines.

“Government ministers need to start supporting the car industry, rather than hammering a jewel in the UK’s manufacturing crown.

“We also need an end to Brexit uncertainty and for tariff free frictionless access to Europe to secure the future of the UK’s car industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on it.”