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Unite urges support to help to secure the UK motor industry

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, wants the Government to give more support to the automotive industry, which contributes £9 billion to the economy annually.

The automotive industry has lost 35,000 jobs in the UK over the last 10 years but still employs 210,000 people.

Unite launched a document to the House of Commons called ‘Ripping the heart out of the UK’s motor industry’, which called for the Government to introduce six things:

1. Introduce a procurement policy that supports UK jobs at agreed at Warwick
2. Improve employment protection for all workers
3. Increase redundancy payments and introduce social compensation plans for workers that lose their jobs
4. Invest in effective training programmes for manufacturing industries
5. The strengthening of the information and consultation rights to include negotiations with trade unions backed up by legislation and substantial fines for those that fail to comply
6. Appoint a minister for manufacturing

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, said: "The UK remains a competitive manufacturing location for automotive products, largely due to the skills of the workforce and the industry’s capacity and willingness to adapt to new challenges.

“Yet too many factories are closing, sometimes with companies turning their backs on this country in search of cheaper labour elsewhere such as Peugeot which shamefully abandoned its Coventry workforce.

"With the loss of the Jaguar Brown’s Lane plant in 2004, the Rover plant at Longbridge in 2006 and the shadow hanging over the Jaguar and Land Rover factories as Ford prepares to sell up, now is the time for the Government to do more to protect our manufacturing base. By extending the same sort of assistance that is taken for granted in other European countries, we can build a much stronger sector and help generate more jobs and exports."

Unite has also asked MPs to investigate the procurement record of their local authorities in buying UK built vehicles. They and research compiled by Unite reveals that 74% of vehicles procures and used by central and local government bodies are not produced in the UK.

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