The taskforce that has been to set up to safeguard manufacturing and employment at Suffolk-based Delphi Diesel Systems has been urged to include Unite, the country’s largest union, in its planning process.
Unite has raised concerns that the South Suffolk Taskforce, formed six months ago, has made little or no progress about the future of the Sudbury site where more than 500 jobs are under threat when the factory closes in August 2020.
Unite regional officer Neal Evans has written to the taskforce chair Tory MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge asking for the union to be included in the taskforce’s deliberations so “that we can work together for the ultimate benefit of your constituents and my members”.
Unite commissioned a report by the Syndex consultancy which said that Delphi Diesel Systems had a unique position in the UK economy when it came to precision engineering and had a viable future. The report’s findings were discussed with government officials last week.
In the letter to James Cartlidge, Unite regional officer Neal Evans said: “The specific reference to the taskforce ‘taking evidence’ is particularly difficult to justify, as the workforce are only too aware that taskforce members have visited the site without having spoken to any of their elected workplace representatives.
“Unite has commissioned an extensive report into the Delphi operation in Sudbury which confirms that it has a set of skills in high precision manufacturing for mass production which is unique in the UK and would be invaluable for any prospective employer looking to set up in Sudbury and supply a range of industries, including automotive and aerospace.”
Unite said that the government officials were ready to assist, but needed to understand that it is a collective effort from all stakeholders, most importantly, the taskforce and the local authorities.
The letter went on: “To be clear - we are looking for potential re-industrialisation and for the input of all stakeholders to achieve this. But this has to be done well before the existing workforce start to disperse into other workplaces. If this happens, the main asset and selling point of the site will be lost.
“I don’t believe that such a desired outcome can be achieved without the direct involvement of Unite in the South Suffolk Taskforce and would, therefore, request inclusion and for a detailed report on what has been achieved to date.”
The taskforce is made up of representatives from the county council, Babergh district council and other business supportive agencies. The firm makes diesel fuel injectors and filters for commercial vehicles and it is understood that work will be transferred to Romania.
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
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 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.