Race to save auto jobs

Unite GS blasts industry and government as third of auto workers are ‘not confident’ that their workplace will survive the transition to electrification

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The leader of Unite has slammed the automotive industry and the government for failing to prepare for the green transition.

Joint research from the University of Birmingham and Unite reveals that almost a third (29.2%) of auto workers are ‘not confident’ that their workplace will survive the transition to electrification.

Unite is calling for an effective “risk register” for the automotive sector. Industry and government have failed to identify the specific automotive jobs most at risk and to prepare support for the transition to equivalent roles.

There are over 700,000 jobs across the automotive industry. The SMMT warns that 22,000 jobs are at risk in the components supply chain. But if workers’ fears are borne out, as many as 200,000 jobs could be at risk if a third of workplaces close due to electrification. This uncertainty underlines a massive industry and government failing.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “There is a ‘black hole’ in industry’s and government’s understanding of the auto supply chain. As a result thousands of jobs are on the line. This is avoidable. Unite is demanding that the industry and the government urgently puts in place an effective risk register.”

Unite activists representing thousands of UK manufacturing workers’ are gathering in Birmingham this week to endorse a programme to defend manufacturing jobs.

Graham added, “There is a race to save manufacturing jobs and any job won’t do. Too often the promise of new jobs comes with no commitment that they will be like-for-like replacements for jobs which are lost with union-recognised pay and conditions.

“For Unite green manufacturing jobs means job security, quality of life, decent pay and conditions. That’s the goal and we are bringing shop stewards together to win it.”

By Ciaran Naidoo