Commenting on reports today (Monday 25 May) that the chancellor is soon to unveil Project Birch, the government's plan to support and invest in strategically vital industries, Unite, the country's leading manufacturing union, said that there is no more time to lose to prevent mass job losses.

 

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Steve Turner, said: "It's very welcome news that a rescue plan for UK PLC is finally taking shape. We have to see the details, of course, but as a trade union we have been working hard with our industrial partners to persuade government of the need for long-term support for core industries and to build our way out of this crisis, saving jobs and skills.  

 

"There is no more time to lose if we are to prevent a tsunami of job losses from sweeping through communities this summer.  

 

"We still need to ensure that proposed changes to the job retention scheme do not undermine a plan to recover and rebuild and that workers continue to get their wages. But if these moves put a financial floor under major employers and their vast supply chains then we have the beginnings of a plan taking shape.

 

"What we also need, and urgently, is phase two of the Job Retention Scheme, a recovery phase to assist us rebuilding our economy, supporting flexible and short-time working while we pull the economy out of its deep freeze and attempt to stimulate demand.  

 

"These measures must come quickly and go hand-in-hand with an immediate and strategic programme to create new green jobs as part of a just transition to replace those that we know will not be coming back.

 

"Recovery from this huge health and economic shock cannot be piecemeal. It has to be a national systematic effort, with the government, employers and unions working in partnership to repair and reshape our economy."

 

ENDS

 

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