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Britain facing a ‘manufacturing emergency,’ McCluskey warns

LEN McCLUSKEY is warning that Britain is facing a manufacturing emergency and has urged the public to oppose the closure of Swindon’s Honda car plant by supporting a protest planned for next week.

The Unite general secretary decried the fact that manufacturers have announced the loss of more than 22,000 jobs in the British car industry since the turn of the year.

His statement came as Unite announced that the union will be holding a demonstration on Saturday March 30 to oppose the closure of the Honda works. It is expected that all 3,500 jobs at the plant will go if it closes in 2021. Unite estimates that an extra 12,000 jobs in the supply chain will be put at risk.

Mr McCluskey said: “The news that Honda is seeking to exit the UK rocked the very foundations of manufacturing in this country.

“If a company with a dedicated workforce and a strong market can walk away, then what next?

“We are not going to let this happen, not without a fight. Honda has had 30 great and loyal years at Swindon. This town and workforce have given their all, which is why we are saying to Honda: You must listen to the alternatives.

“There are opportunities to renew UK manufacturing and save jobs, but these must be pursued — now and urgently — by unions, the government and industry working hand in hand — as would happen in other countries — or vital jobs and solid communities will go.

“There is no getting away from the threats to the sector at the moment and that we are in the grip of a manufacturing emergency.”

The rally will be held at the GWR Park, Faringdon Road, Swindon, from 12.30pm on Saturday March 30.

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