Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has challenged the government to radically review its procurement policies after the Hitachi Rail company in Newton Aycliffe County Durham announced a quarter of its staff face redundancy, due to problems with winning major UK contracts.

In total 250 of the company’s workforce are set to be made redundant. Hitachi has laid the blame on the job losses on its difficulty in winning large volume contracts for new trains.

Conservative test

Unite believes that the redundancies’ announcement will demonstrate whether the pledges by the area’s new Conservative MP Paul Howell to fight for his constituents will be honoured.

Bad news for workers

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “The announcement of such large scale redundancies is bad news for the affected workers, their families and the local community.

“These redundancies need to be laid at the door of the government. Its existing procurement policies mean that major contracts for new trains are too readily awarded to overseas companies, depriving factories in the UK of work.

“If the government is serious about protecting jobs and skills going forward then procurement policies need to be radically reformed.

“Ensuring that future major train contracts are awarded in the UK will be an early test of the government and whether it is serious about backing UK manufacturing.

“Ensuring that new work is secured for the Hitachi factory will be a major test for the new Conservative MP who was elected last month on a pledge to deliver for local people.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Unite secures Hitachi recognition and warns government over the future of UK train manufacturing

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.