Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has welcomed the public disclosure today (Monday 30 March) of the work being done by the Ventilator Challenge Consortium which has brought together many UK manufacturers to begin rapidly building medical ventilators  and breathing apparatus needed by the NHS to help tackle the coronavirus crisis.


The consortium, which includes the best of the UK’s world class manufacturing giants; such as Airbus, Siemens, Ford, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, and Rolls-Royce who work closely with Unite, is meeting the challenge of a global crisis to ensure components, as well as engineering and the manufacturing capability is available to produce life-saving equipment.

Worker dedication

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “In this time of national crisis, it is important we recognise and appreciate the dedication of the workers who are coming together across British industry to help our NHS and to save the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

“Today’s announcement is a sign that those working in Britain’s high-tech manufacturing sector are rising to the challenge without question, putting their world-leading skills to use in a wartime type-effort to build life-saving equipment for our NHS.

“It graphically demonstrates the value of cooperation and coordination and is a stark reminder of why it is so important for the UK to maintain and expand its national manufacturing capabilities and capacity, including the skills and knowledge of its world class workforce.

“I am enormously proud to support the work which has been announced today and of Unite members who are going the extra mile to do what is required of them in unprecedented times.

“The work of the consortium in bringing about cross company and union collaboration means that no time will be wasted ‘reinventing the wheel’ when building medical equipment desperately needed now in our NHS.

“The common purpose, cooperation and collaboration shown by the Ventilator Challenge Consortium is going to be far more effective in the battle against the global coronavirus pandemic than any of the vainglorious posturing of others.”


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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.