Last week’s announcement from car manufacturer Honda, which said that it was planning to close its only European factory in Swindon sent shock waves throughout the UK. It was the latest in a series of worrying production decisions from car makers in the UK, made in the shadow of global auto trends and Brexit.
Honda cited a number of reasons for its decision, among them a worldwide fall in the demand for diesel cars and the need for it to accelerate its transition to electrification. Although it downplayed the role of Brexit, other experts have asserted that the UK leaving the EU will have an unequivocal, permanent impact on the car industry.
Illuminating the heated debates taking place now about the future of the UK car industry is a new book, to which Unite has contributed. Called Keeping the Wheels on the Road: UK Auto Post Brexit, it’s part of the ‘Bite-Sized Brexit’ series published by Bite-Sized Books.
At only 82 pages long, the book brings together the main issues facing the UK auto industry, with a range of perspectives from industry experts, observers, commentators and trade unionists, including a chapter from Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner.
Keeping the Wheels on the Road is edited by Aston University professor and auto industry expert David Bailey, who is widely cited in news reports including on UniteLive.
Bite-Sized Books has called the latest in its ‘Bite-Sized Brexit’ series “a major contribution to the debate about Brexit and is required reading for anyone concerned about manufacturing in the UK”.
Unite’s perspective in the book is one of fierce and determined optimism, with Unite’s Steve Turner pledging that “collectively we will confront challenges as our members’ face them, just as we will fight any attempt to force workers to pay for a crisis not of their making.”
“The talent, creativity and ingenuity of automotive workers in the UK is beyond question; nor is their determination,” he writes. “Their hard work, flexibility and even sacrifice rebuilt the industry.
“This will not be allowed to be thrown away by fantasists and ideologues. Unite will continue to campaign for the future of the automotive industry.”
Find out more about Keeping the Wheels on the Road and how you can order your copy, on Bite-Sized Books’ website.