Over 2,000 manufacturing job losses impacting Unite members have been announced in January, with the total number of redundancies in the sector likely to be much higher.
Analysis from Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, released today (Thursday 6 February 2020) shows that a total of 2,094 manufacturing jobs in workplaces represented by the union were marked for the axe in the first month of 2020.
Many of the redundancies were announced in newly held Conservative constituencies in the North of England, with Unite calling on the government to ‘take back control’ of UK manufacturing, which is vital to the region, with a ‘proactive industrial strategy’.
These include 250 job losses at Hitachi Rail in Tory MP Paul Howell’s Sedgefield seat and 250 out of total of 355 job losses at Liberty Steel in Tory MP Miriam Cates’ Penistone and Stocksbridge seat.
In Scunthorpe, which is held by the Conservative MP Holly Mumby-Croft, 500 British Steel jobs are also set to go under plans by Chinese firm Jingye, which is the preferred bidder for the steel manufacturer
Other January job losses include 168 at Mondi Packaging in Deeside, 300 at Antolin Interiors in Sittingbourne, 500 at JLR in Halewood, 82 at EnerSys in Newport, 63 at Crane Stock Valve in Belfast and 126 at API Foils in Livingstone, Sheffield, Manchester and Cheshire.
Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “Behind every one of these lost jobs there is a personal tragedy, a family and a community that depend on that income. And of course, there is a knock-on effect in the service sector and wider supply chain as well as on high streets – we know that for every one manufacturing job gone another four will follow, so the real total is closer to 10,000.
“Prime minister Boris Johnson and the government have to get a grip and start standing up for UK Plc, well paid skilled jobs and our communities. Our manufacturing sector is desperate for a proactive industrial strategy that can give it the confidence it needs to invest and thrive. Our experience tells us that without that when these jobs go they do not get replaced,” he added.
“Surrounded by city spivs with little knowledge or care for manufacturing, Boris Johnson is likely to be remembered as the prime minister that closed the factory gates in our manufacturing heartlands rather than taking back control of our destiny.
“There are steps that the government can take now to reverse this dismal decline. These include awarding the Fleet Support Ships contract to UK shipyards, committing to support for UK-based automotive battery, powertrain and transmission manufacturing and accepting the vital importance to our industry of retaining its tariff free, open border trading arrangements with the EU.
“This is now an emergency, but it is not an inevitability. If government has the political will and works with unions and the industry to turn the ‘take back control’ rhetoric into reality, we can turn this around and provide the environment in which UK manufacturing can flourish once more.”