Unite ‘lights up’ Rolls Royce in Derby

Unite ‘lights up’ Rolls Royce in Derby to promote autism awareness

08 April 2016

Big-hearted Unite members working for Rolls Royce in Derby have forked out £2,000 to light up their plant in blue to raise aware of autism which affects 700,000 people in the UK.
Global icons such as Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building were joined this week by Unite, the largest union in the country, and Rolls-Royce in lighting up the Moor Lane factory in blue for 48 hours.

Unite’s Rolls Royce branches across the UK with about 15,000 members have paid £2,000 to light up the building from 20.00 to sunrise from Wednesday until 20.00 tonight (Friday 8 April).

While ‘Light it up blue’ is certainly eye-catching, it’s just the latest step along the journey to become more autism-friendly, improve working lives, and help people achieve their full potential.

Unite regional officer Tony Tinley said: “According to the National Autistic Society, only 15 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment.

“We hope that in lighting up the Rolls Royce plant, we can encourage employers in Derby and throughout the East Midlands to think seriously about taking on someone who has autism.”

Simon Hemmings, Unite chief negotiator for Derby and Hucknall staff said: “Autism is an issue we know is very relevant to our members, so it’s great that we’re working together to both raise awareness and make a difference to the working lives of our people.

“Our Unite representatives across the UK were more than happy to pay to have the building lit up in Blue for World Autism Awareness week.”

Earlier this year, Rolls Royce signed up to the UK Autism Charter.

Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism - that's more than 1 in 100. If their families are included, autism touches the lives of 2.8 million people every day.


Notes to editors:

A photograph of the Derby plant in blue is available from Unite.

Find out more about autism and the Autism Alliance

For further information please contact Simon Hemmings, staff convenor on 07976 193264 and or Unite regional officer Tony Tinley on 07958 511571.

Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • 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.