Rolling stock

30.01.19

Unite and Hitachi urge government for immediate investment in UK train manufacturers

The Unite union has written to Chris Grayling, with Hitachi’s backing, warning the government to support UK manufacturing, jobs and skills by investing in rail infrastructure or risk “shunting the UK’s rail manufacturing renaissance into the sidings.”

The letter from Unite to the transport secretary calls for new rolling stock contracts to be awarded to UK factories and warns its members at Hitachi are “increasingly worried that without new work there are currently no new orders in the pipeline.”

Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner warned that high-quality skilled jobs which sustain communities could be hit unless the government brings forward new passenger train contracts and awards them to companies in the UK.

It adds that a recognition agreement with Hitachi Rail strengthens the voice of the workforce, with the rail company’s Newton Aycliffe site home to a sizeable workforce and is a “powerhouse of the regional economy.”

Turner warns: “All this hard work could be short lived, with the UK’s rail manufacturing renaissance shunted into the sidings, if the government doesn’t bring forward the investment needed to upgrade our regional and intercity networks and award contracts for new rolling stock to UK-based train manufacturers as part of a proper industrial strategy supporting UK Plc.

“As the union representing workers employed across UK train manufacturing, Unite looks forward to working constructively with Hitachi Rail and ensuring Newton Aycliffe goes from strength to strength with a secure future and a strong collective voice for the workforce.”

Unite emphasised the impact Hitachi’s site and investment had on the region, with the £100m site home to the new Azuma train due for the East Coast Main Line, which the union says has already led to over £600m spent with suppliers.

Turner added: “With government investment in rolling stock and rail network development already long overdue, particularly across our northern networks, there is the potential for long-term stability in the sector securing jobs and skills alongside apprenticeships at all UK factories.”

Image credit - ands456

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