Unite the union has hailed as `groundbreaking'  the announcement that UK manufacturer Cummins has secured a major UK government contract to develop hydrogen engines at its Darlington site in North East England.

Cummins has been awarded £14.6 million to develop a hydrogen engine as part of the government’s Brunel project. The project is aiming to develop a hydrogen engine that is suitable to replace the existing diesel engines which are used in the road haulage business. The new investment will help to protect the jobs of 640 workers.

Important step forward

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: "This is an incredible development, an important step forward in the battle against the climate crisis.

"It's also a huge tribute to Cummins, one of our most innovative and groundbreaking companies in this field, and this tremendous, world-class workforce.

"I have been exceptionally proud to support Cummins and delighted that their dedication has paid off.  This project provides secure, decent, unionised jobs for this community.

"The climate crisis is very real and it is already upon us but the UK manufacturing workforce is determined to play its part in creating the vehicles and products that can help heal our planet.  

"Hydrogen fuel has the genuine potential to be a game-changer, to deliver the fuel and infrastructure needed to power cleaner vehicles.

"But while this development is an important step forward I urge the government to get behind all the UK manufacturers that are working at pace to produce green alternatives by rolling up its sleeves and investing in the infrastructure needed to get these innovations to the consumer.  

"The sad truth is our national investment is simply not on the same scale as that of other developed economies, and certainly does not reflect the urgency of the situation. The UK government must step up and become a fully-engaged partner in the battle to halt the climate crisis."

Dedicated workforce

Unite national officer Steve Bush said: “This announcement will be a huge relief to this highly skilled and dedicated workforce who are on the frontline of developing the new technology needed to tackle the climate crisis.

 “This announcement should be just the beginning of the contracts that Cummins can and should secure as the essential move away from the combustion engine gathers pace.

“Unite is committed to working with Cummins to ensure that the company remains in pole position to be a leading player as the UK manufacturing sector adopts the new ways of working needed to tackle climate change.”

ENDS

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.