Britain’s rail manufacturing could be shunted into the sidings Unite warned, as it urged the government to support UK manufacturing by investing in rail infrastructure and awarding rolling stock contracts to UK factories. The call, in a letter from Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner to the transport secretary Chris Grayling comes on the same day as Unite signs a recognition agreement covering over 750 workers at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe train manufacturing facility.
The letter warns government ministers that high quality skilled jobs which sustain communities across the UK could be hit unless the government brings forward new passenger train contracts and awards them to companies manufacturing in the UK.
The recognition agreement with Hitachi Rail strengthens the voice of the workforce at Newton Aycliffe by securing collective representation and bargaining. The £100 million site is home to the new Azuma train for the East Coast Mainline and has already led to a spend of over £628 million with 1,168 UK suppliers.
Commenting Unite Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner said: “Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site is home to a world class workforce and is a powerhouse of the regional economy. It nurtures key manufacturing skills, brings desperately needed investment and sustains jobs throughout the area’s supply chain.
“All this hard work could be short lived, with the UK’s rail manufacturing renaissance shunted into the sidings, if the government doesn’t bring forward the investment needed to upgrade our regional and intercity networks and award contracts for new rolling stock to UK based train manufacturers as part of a proper industrial strategy supporting UK Plc.
“As the union representing workers employed across UK train manufacturing, Unite looks forward to working constructively with Hitachi Rail and ensuring Newton Aycliffe goes from strength to strength with a secure future and a strong collective voice for the workforce.”