Lack of progress by government in releasing cash for British-made ‘green’ zero emission buses is being blamed for a potential 15 job losses at Switch Mobility in Leeds, Unite the union warned today (Monday 2 August).

Switch Mobility, a leading UK producer of mass-transit buses, (previously known as Optare), has announced that it is consulting on a number of redundancies as it will have a limited order book in a challenging market’ at the end of this month.

Unite, which represents members at the plant in Sherburn in Elmet, Leeds, called on ministers to release monies from the Green Bus Fund to secure bus manufacturing at the site, following Boris Johnson’s pledge in March this year to purchase 4,000 British-made zero emission buses as part of a £3bn investment in England’s bus network. 

Unite national officer Steve Bush said: “Switch Mobility’s announcement that it is planning a number of redundancies is a heavy blow for our members and their families, as well as for the West Yorkshire economy and the UK’s manufacturing base generally.

“Unite believes that this grim news is a direct result of the government’s lack of willingness to release monies from the Green Bus Fund.  We call on ministers to free up the necessary funds to enable bus operators to buy new ‘green’ vehicles, and keep British manufacturers operating and workers in jobs.

“Flesh needs to be put on the bones of the prime minister’s announcement of a ‘green bus revolution’, otherwise it will just become another ‘levelling up’ promise from Boris Johnson that turns out to be a mirage.

“The company has invested in the production of an electric bus that our cities and communities are crying out for to ensure a ‘greener’ public transport landscape in the decades ahead. As a country, we can’t afford to lose such skilled jobs which are the lifeblood for our future prosperity.” 


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.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

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