Stark warning from lead manufacturing body on Brexit

With UK manufacturers warning that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be `simply unacceptable to an industry accounting for 45 per cent of all UK exports’, Unite has said that now the prime minister must see sense on the single market and customs union.

The union was responding to a briefing published by the largest manufacturing employers’ organisation in the UK, the EEF, in which it set out the vulnerabilities of the UK, the ninth biggest industrial nation in the world, in the event of a blundered Brexit.

The EEF has appealed to the government to find a new ‘rhetoric’ as it goes into Brexit talks in order to safeguard the 52 per cent by value of all manufactured goods which are exported to the European Union, a call backed by Unite.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, which has over a quarter a million members working in manufacturing, said: “With both the EEF and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders now urging the prime minister to change tack, we now have two of the three biggest employers bodies warn that the government is treading a dangerous path.

“We have been saying this consistently for months.  Workers and industry need to know that the prime minister’s top priority is to defend jobs and the economy. 

“This means putting right at the top of her agenda safeguarding tariff-free access to the single market and the retention of bureaucracy-free arrangements we have within the customs union.

“Surely now the prime minister will listen.  Investment decisions needed now to sustain our manufacturing sector into the future are not being made because of the uncertainty swirling around the economy.

“When unions and employers are both saying the same thing – that the instability that is being allowed to flourish at the moment must cease – the government must pay heed. 

“They are bargaining with the jobs and living standards of the entire country.  These are not to be thrown over the boat in a bid to satisfy the whims of the ‘hard’ Brexit fanatics.”

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