The risk that banknote printer De La Rue could collapse if its turnaround plan fails is ‘very worrying’, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, said today (Tuesday 26 November).

De La Rue said its warning was based on a worst-case scenario as shares in the company slumped by 20 per cent today.

De La Rue has a plant in Gateshead in the north east which experienced job losses in the summer that were blamed on last year’s decision by the government to give the post-Brexit passport printing contract to a French-Dutch company.

The UK-based company also prints Bank of England banknotes at Debden, Essex.

Unite national officer Louisa Bull said: “This is very worrying news today and we are seeking urgent clarification from the company about the future.

“The employment security of our more than 250 members at Gateshead, and at Debden where we have about 150 members, as well as those at other smaller sites across the UK, is Unite’s prime concern.

“The potentially precarious future of De La Rue, a major UK manufacturing company, should be ringing alarm bells across government.

“Unite will be doing all it can in supporting our members at this very difficult time and will continue to campaign strongly to keep vital printing work in the UK.  

“We have previously criticised the government’s short-sighted and blinkered decision to award the printing of post-Brexit UK passports, worth £490 million, to French-Dutch firm Gemalto as it seriously undermined the financial viability of the Gateshead operation.”

Last month, Unite branded a £50,000 leaving package for former boss Martin Sutherland to look for a new job as ‘an outrageous reward for failure’.


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

Email: [email protected]

  • 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.