Serious questions are being asked about what steps a taskforce has taken to safeguard manufacturing and employment at Suffolk-based Delphi Diesel Systems where more than 500 jobs are under threat when the factory closes in August 2020.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said it was unclear what the South Suffolk Taskforce had achieved in the last six months to secure the future of the ‘unique’ manufacturing base in Sudbury and also the jobs of the skilled workforce.
Unite regional officer Neal Evans said: “The taskforce was set up last October to support workers after the American-owned company said that it would close the factory in 2020. We understand that work is being moved to Romania.
“Taskforce members have been to the site to talk to the management, but we understand that no one from the workforce has been consulted, which is a strange omission and gives a one-sided view of the firm’s future viability.”
Unite has commissioned a report by the Syndex consultancy which said that Delphi Diesel had a unique position in the UK economy when it came to precision engineering and had a viable future. The firm makes diesel fuel injectors and filters for commercial vehicles.
Unite had a meeting at the Department for International Trade about the Syndex report this week.
Neal Evans added: “It is clear that that the Sudbury site can have a prosperous future and has a workforce with the manufacturing skills that the UK can’t afford to lose as it faces up to the economic challenges post-Brexit.
“That’s why the apparent lack of a coherent blueprint from the taskforce is very worrying. Unite feels that it could have made an effective contribution to its deliberations, but we were not invited to do so.
“We believe that the best option for this site is that another company takes it over and develops it in a proactive manner – and we are working towards that end.
“This is a viable option as highly profitable Delphi Diesel is currently working normally with orders to fulfil.
“If the government’s much-vaunted industrial strategy means anything, it should be safeguarding a world-class site, such as that at Sudbury.”
The taskforce, chaired by Tory MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge, is made up of representatives from the county council, Babergh district council and other business supportive agencies.
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.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
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.