Britain’s largest union, Unite, urged the UK government to strengthen its ‘golden share’ in BAE systems by taking an active stake in the company to safeguard British jobs and boost British manufacturing.
The call follows today’s (Wednesday 10 October) reported collapse of merger talks between BAE Systems and EADS, which would have created the world’s largest aerospace and defence company.
The union, which represents over 30,000 highly skilled workers across the two companies, had been pressing for guarantees over jobs in the newly merged company.
Ian Waddell, Unite national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding, said: “The highly skilled workforces of both companies are the beating heart of British manufacturing. A merger, with a jobs guarantee, would have created a strong new company that could have protected the UK’s long term interests.
“There was an industrial logic to the merger, but national and political interests proved to be the stumbling block. The UK government now needs to strengthen its ‘golden share’ and send a powerful message that it backs British manufacturing and BAE Systems.
“Short-termism cannot be allowed to govern BAE’s future. BAE management in the past has made some crucial wrong decisions, such as selling its stake in Airbus in 2006. We need to ensure the company plans for the long term and that short-term investor pressure is balanced with employee representation on the board.
“BAE is a great British company. The government needs to follow the example of Germany and France where they pursue an active industrial policy and adopt an approach that safeguards the highly skilled jobs which are critical to our country’s defence.”
For more information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The union’s general secretary is Len McCluskey.