Unite warns UK in grip of 'manufacturing emergency'

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey. Picture by Hugh Russell

A LEADING union has warned that the UK is in the grip of a "manufacturing emergency" as it announced plans for a rally aimed at saving thousands of jobs.

Unite said 22,000 job losses had already been announced by car companies amid a series of shutdowns to adjust to continued uncertainty over Brexit.

The union is holding an event in Swindon on March 30 to highlight the impact of the planned closure of the Honda factory.

The closure will hit 3,500 direct jobs but Unite said another 12,000 are at risk in the supply chain.

Unite is working on an alternative plan to save jobs at Swindon by bringing the next generation of electric vehicle technology to the UK.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: "The news that Honda is seeking to exit the UK rocked the very foundations of manufacturing in this country. If a company with a dedicated workforce and a strong market can walk away, then what next?

"We are not going to let this happen, not without a fight. Honda has had 30 great and loyal years at Swindon. This town and workforce have given their all, which is why we are saying to Honda you must listen to the alternatives.

"There are opportunities to renew UK manufacturing and save jobs, but these must be pursued now and urgently by unions, the government and industry working hand-in-hand, as would happen in other countries, or vital jobs and solid communities will go.

"The alternatives that we are looking at are strong and viable, and they would benefit the whole of the UK auto industry. There is no getting away from the threats to the sector at the moment and that we are in the grip of a manufacturing emergency."

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