Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has warned that the government’s revelation that frictionless trade will cease at the end of this year, will place ‘jobs on the line’.

The disclosure by cabinet minister Michael Gove that frictionless trade with the European Union will cease at the end of this year was announced on the same day (Monday 10 February) that the government also announced that it wanted to create up to 10 free ports.

Government by decree

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “We are witnessing government by decree, there appears to be not a care in the world that after each of these piecemeal announcements thousands of jobs are being put on the line, investment is moving away and whole industries are losing confidence in their ability to remain competitive.

 “The government seems hell bent on re-introducing both tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade on UK Plc, both of which will add cost, delay supply, slow down production and undermine what until recently was a bright future for world class UK based manufacturing.

 “If this does not stop, government bravado and rhetoric will be responsible for a collapse of business confidence alongside a gross betrayal of a highly skilled workforce and the communities that both support and rely on it.

 “It is a simply untrue to say business has had plenty of time to prepare for a post Brexit world, when the government has kept moving the goalposts on what that world will look like.

 “Rather than posturing on free ports, which are at best a gimmick and at worst a haven for crime and corruption which will further damage our manufacturing base, the government should be addressing what industry needs to succeed in a post Brexit word.

 “The government should be working with industry and unions to map out exactly what’s necessary to support UK Plc post Brexit, we have to both preserve and enhance jobs and a balanced industrial economy, rather than making over blown announcements without consultation and with potentially disastrous consequences.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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