The leader of the country’s biggest trade union, Unite, has today called upon the government to build on the good news for Nissan by reassuring other key sectors of the economy that they will also see the best possible trading relations emerge from the UK’s Brexit negotiations.
Len McCluskey urged the Prime Minister and her ministers to use the planned Commons statement later this afternoon to declare to workers and industry that securing the maximum options for investment and trade is its number one priority.
Speaking ahead of questions in the Commons today, where Labour will press for further disclosure of the deal done between Nissan and the government, Len McCluskey said:
“The confirmation that new models will be heading to Sunderland was fantastic and something this union worked tirelessly to help bring about.
“But this cannot be the last word on the matter. We have tens of thousands of highly skilled workers in the rest of the automotive sector, where more than a dozen different models are awaiting investment security, anxious to hear similar good news.
“The same goes for workers in aerospace, defence, engineering, energy, pharmaceuticals – in fact, right across the economy we have workers and communities desperate to learn that the government is on their side too.
“The government could give them that assurance now by declaring a determination to secure access to the markets and supply chains that underpin our world class manufacturers.
“Give us that vital assistance while trade unions fight hard for new models and the next generations of products to be made here, in the UK.
“Furthermore, the upcoming autumn statement must be used to set out how the promised industrial strategy will pave the way for a success post-Brexit.
“The chancellor has a serious opportunity to commit to invest in a strong domestic supply chain, skills development and the infrastructure that industry urgently needs to thrive out with the EU. He must not miss this crucial moment to send the right signal to investors, industry and workers across the country.
“The plea from shop floor to the boardroom is the same: give us the certainty that brings investment.
“The few Hard Brexit champions who seek a different path cannot be allowed to win the day. The national interest, investment, jobs and livelihoods absolutely must come before efforts to appease a political faction.”
Unite has been campaigning for access to the single market as vital for manufacturing’s continued success and development.