Tomorrow’s (Wednesday 22 March) launch of a new state of the art plant in the West Midlands to produce the world-famous London taxi is ‘a great turnaround success story’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said.
The £300 million investment by the Chinese company Geely will see the emphasis at the new site at Ansty, near Coventry, on the TX5 electric taxi with the goal of producing 5,000 such vehicles by 2019.
Unite said that what had happened over the last four years was ‘one of the great comeback stories in UK manufacturing history’.
In 2013, the London Taxi Company was ‘on the brink’ after going into administration before the Zhejing Geely Holding Group stepped in to rescue the firm.
Since then, the workforce has risen from 150 to the current figure of 700 with the expectation that 1,000 will be employed at Ansty by 2020.
Unite regional officer Peter Coulson said: “This is a fantastic story of a company that was on its knees in 2013; now thanks to the commitment of Geely’s top management and accompanying large-scale investment the iconic London taxi is set for its continued renaissance.
“Tribute should also be paid to the dedicated workforce who have worked hard and diligently to contribute to the current success.
“This is fantastic news in terms of highly skilled jobs for our members and the future creation of employment opportunities. It will be a wonderful boost to the West Midlands economy.
“Unite has worked very closely and successfully with the company to contribute to this success story which is one of the great comebacks in Britain’s long industrial history.
“Geely sees great potential for the iconic London taxi which is famous across the world with its cameo appearances at the 2012 London Olympics and in the James Bond film franchise. The company is already exporting to the Middle East and is eyeing up the Australian market.”
The production at the Ansty site is expected to start in May/June. The TX4, the traditional combustion engine taxi, will be run-down at its Coventry site over the next 12 months, depending on demand.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.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.