Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, is demanding that the government shapes up and starts supporting UK manufacturing after it was announced today (28 January) that Hitachi Rail had failed to be awarded the contract to build new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The announcement is especially galling as the Hitachi Rail factory at Newton Aycliffe is virtually on the doorstep of the metro system.

The £362 million contract has instead been awarded to the Swiss manufacturer Stadler Rail.

The failure to award large volume contracts for new trains was the principal reason why Hitachi Rail was forced to announce 250 redundancies earlier this month.

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “This is the first test of the government to shape up and protect UK manufacturing.

“It is essential that new procurement rules are immediately introduced to put UK manufacturing first.

“The failure of Hitachi to be awarded this contract which is on its doorstep is a huge blow to the local community, which has been severely neglected for the last decade.

“The UK leaves the European Union at the end of the week and the government must stop hiding behind competition rules, to ensure wherever possible our manufacturing industry is in the box seat in bidding for future contracts.

“Unless the government takes immediate action then the UK is at real risk of losing key parts of its manufacturing sector and the vital jobs and skills that are linked with it.”

ENDS

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.