Unite, Britain's biggest union, has welcomed the launch of a long-term industrial strategy for the automotive sector by business secretary Vince Cable and Professor Richard Parry-Jones who co-chair the Automotive Council.
This strategy focuses on four key areas – technology and innovation; supply chain; skills and business environment.
Unite believes that in order to build on our successes the UK needs to;
- Build-on and extend the UK's domestic supply chains. Currently too much of the supply chain for vehicles built in the UK comes from overseas. A fairer balance would make a massive difference to UK manufacturing.
- The UK government should encourage public sector bodies to support UK manufacturing jobs through its procurement strategies. There needs to be a debate about how best the UK can procure high quality vehicles whilst supporting UK jobs.
- If the UK is going to inspire young people to pursue careers in manufacturing the government needs to start providing genuine high quality careers advice at school and offer apprenticeships which are at least equal to a university degree. This would make a huge difference to getting more young people interested in engineering and manufacturing.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said:"It's good news that the business secretary Vince Cable wants a long-term strategy to build on the successes of the UK motor industry. We agree with the Automotive Council that the industry must be dynamic, must develop new technologies and support high skilled jobs to inspire young people to pursue careers in engineering.
"Unite welcomes the positive comments about the skilled and flexible workforce we have in the UK and how industry works constructively with trade unions. However flexibility should not be confused with a 'race to the bottom'. The turnaround in the fortunes of the industry has been remarkable, much to the credit of the workforce. Maintaining the current progress must be done through stable employment, decent pay and conditions and a well trained workforce.
"Also any opportunity there is for us to increase UK manufacturing output should be grabbed with both hands. There is a great choice of high quality vehicle manufacturers in the UK. The government could boost demand at a stroke by introducing a procurement strategy to support UK motor manufacturing.
"There is so much the UK government can do to support this successful industry through procurement and bringing the supply chain back home - this is an encouraging start and we welcome it."
Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.42 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
The Automotive Council, a joint initiative between BIS and the motor industry, launched its long term industrial strategy for the automotive sector at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today (Friday 12 July 2013).