Unions Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union are in dispute with Jaguar’s parent company over its decision last week to end car production at Browns Lane with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. A union delegation took the fight to the Paris Motor Show last week to urge Ford bosses directly to rethink their decision.
Now, Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, has joined in the debate.
She told the Labour Conference in Brighton yesterday: “Jaguar’s decision a week ago to halt production at Browns Lane was a huge blow to the workers – many of whom are here today. And we’re not going to turn our backs on a great British brand – and a great British workforce.
”That’s why I have told the company to sit down with workers and their unions, to listen to their proposals, and to have real discussions about how we secure the company’s future in the West Midlands.“
”We believe in partnership in the workplace. And it has got to come in the bad times as well as the good.”
But Hewitt was also full of praise for British motor manufacturing.
“When you think of British manufacturing, you think of our great automotive sector. The new Mini at Cowley – half a million cars a year; Nissan in Sunderland – the most efficient car plant in Europe; and Toyota – exporting made-in-Britain cars back to Japan,” she said.