Up to 650 job losses at bus maker Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) sites at Guildford, Scarborough and Fife are a ‘devasting blow’ for workers and their communities, Unite said today (July 27).
Unite said it is working with the ADL to minimise redundancies, which are part of a restructuring by the bus makers’ Canada-based parent firm NFI Group Inc.
The union called on the government to bring forward plans to get 4,000 new green buses on the UK’s roads to prevent job losses amongst the firm’s 2,500 strong workforce.
Commenting on the situation in Scotland, Unite regional officer Willie Thomson said, “This is devastating news for workers at Falkirk and Larbert, and for their families, as Alexander Dennis announces the potential for massive jobs losses across their UK sites. We believe these actions are premature and urge the company to continue to explore all options to protect jobs and livelihoods. We stand ready to work with them to achieve this. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the bus industry with the collapse of new orders from operators due to the crisis.”
“There has been promises of support from both the Scottish and UK Governments,” he added. “That support must come now. The Prime Minister promised 4,000 green buses in February. Workers in Falkirk and Larbert are ready to build them. We need Boris Johnson to deliver his promise.”
“We also call on the Scottish Government to do more to support the world class manufacturing bases at Falkirk and Larbert. The Alexander Dennis workforce has a crucial role to play in a cleaner and greener future for both our economy and our communities. We will be fully engaging with the company in the coming weeks and we will do all we can to save these jobs. Each job is a worker, a family effected, and they shouldn’t be the ones to pay the price for this crisis.
Commenting on the national picture, Unite national officer Steve Bush said, “This is a devastating blow for Alexander Dennis workers and their communities. Unite will be doing everything possible to support our members at this difficult time and we will be working with ADL to ensure the company explores all possible avenues to minimise redundancies.
“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the automotive sector greatly,” Bush added. “However, ADL is in a good position to take advantage of the need to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s passenger transport network. Unite is clear ADL must not impact its future operating capacity by cutting jobs opportunistically for the sake of short-term savings.
“The government also has its part to play,” Bush went on to say. “This month Boris Johnson reiterated that £3bn will be allocated for 4,000 green buses to be built. Those plans must be activated as soon as possible to save jobs and get the UK on the road to cleaner public transport.
“As Unite has made clear in correspondence with minister for transport Grant Shapps, the easiest way to achieve this would be for the government to purchase the buses directly from manufacturers. The government could then lease them to the bus operators, many of whom are delaying orders because their cash flows have been impacted by the lockdown.”
By Ryan Fletcher and Andrew Brady