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Call for ‘strong’ industrial strategy, as Suffolk engi...

Call for ‘strong’ industrial strategy, as Suffolk engineering firm announces closure with loss of 500 jobs

04 August 2017

Unite, the country’s largest union, has called for the implementation of a ‘strong and robust’ industrial strategy, as Suffolk-based Delphi Diesel Systems today (Friday 4 August) announced that the plant would close, with the loss of more than 500 jobs.
 
Unite said that the government’s embryonic industrial strategy needed to move ‘into top gear’ to save these vital skilled engineering jobs, as the highly-profitable Sudbury engineering company said the site would be scaled down, finally closing in August 2020.
 
The union understands that the American-owned conglomerate plans to move work to Romania where labour costs are cheaper and where the Bucharest government offers greater subsidies.
 
Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: “The news from Suffolk today reinforces the need for a strong and robust industrial strategy to be activated immediately to secure these highly skilled manufacturing jobs so they remain in the UK rather than move to a low cost country.
 
“It is time for the business secretary Greg Clark to translate the rhetoric of an industrial strategy into practical action to secure essential UK manufacturing jobs, especially in rural Suffolk where such skilled industrial jobs are thin on the ground.  The minister needs to accelerate into top gear.”
 
Unite has been working with highly regarded economic specialists Syndex, which was agreed with the management, to come up with an alternative plan to save the Sudbury site, but the company had not given enough time for the alternatives to be formulated. However, the union said, the Syndex work will still continue.
 
Unite regional officer Neal Evans said: “We definitely believe that the company jumped the gun, putting the jobs of the workers and the security of their families in danger, as it did not allow enough time for alternatives to be developed.
 
“What is happening here is that the work at the Sudbury plant, which is making a healthy six-figure profit each month, is being sent to Romania where labour costs are lower and subsidies are greater.

“The company has said that some of the work would be transferred to another site in Gloucestershire, but we have no written assurances that this will be the case.
 
“We will continue to campaign for the company to reverse the closure and we desperately need  a pro-active and coherent industrial strategy as the country faces up to the daunting economic challenges of the post-Brexit world.
 
“We are also disappointed that not one of the East Anglian Tory MPs signed the House of Commons Early Day Motion (EDM) motion expressing ‘grave concern’ that more than 500 jobs at the profitable in Suffolk site were under threat.”
 
Delphi makes diesel fuel injectors and filters for commercial vehicles at the site.
 
ENDS

Notes to editors:

Syndex consists of 450 consultants, specialists in the economic and social aspects of companies, who provide assistance to employee representatives and trade unions in France and in Europe. It places its expertise at the service of European Works councils.

The EDM can be accessed via http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/170

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.