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Source: Labour List UK

© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Unite the Union leaders representing hundreds of thousands of UK manufacturing workers – from food to steel, aerospace to automotive industries – have penned an open letter urging politicians to secure and approve a Brexit deal.

The manufacturing workplace representatives are joined by assistant general secretary Steve Turner in calling on Boris Johnson to “return with a deal” and demanding that this post-Brexit trade agreement is backed by all in parliament.

“Whatever its failings, MPs of all parties must back it,” the letter by trade unionists in UK manufacturing reads. “The alternative of a no deal will cause irreparable damage to manufacturing and the wider UK economy.”

The worker representatives from some of the country’s biggest companies, including Rolls Royce Motors, GKN and Nestle, are urging political parties including Labour to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with UK workers” by supporting a deal.

The letter warns: “Anything else would be an act of gross industrial vandalism that will not be forgiven by those impacted by it.” It favours the view that even a thin deal would be better than none and should be approved.

Keir Starmer has ruled out ordering Labour MPs to vote against a deal if one is agreed before December 31st, saying: “I don’t think there’s a much of a case for voting against it when that would be effectively to vote for no deal.”

LabourList understands that the leadership is currently leaning towards voting in favour of a Brexit deal, rather than abstaining, partly because Labour has long argued that no deal would be the worst possible scenario.

Rachel Reeves recently told a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting: “Keir and I will read the deal. We are not being bounced into this decision.” But she made the case that a trade agreement would be a platform for building on.

Starmer called on the government to “get this deal done” and “deliver it for the British people” after Johnson this week described a no deal scenario as “very likely”. The Prime Minister said there were still “big differences” to resolve.

Below is the full text of the open letter and list of signatories.

Returning from Brussels without a post-Brexit trade deal would be catastrophic for UK Plc, a gross betrayal of our manufacturing heartlands and national economic interests.

UK manufacturing and its suppliers employ millions of workers in highly skilled jobs. They offer thousands of apprenticeships, design and engineer the technologies to green and clean our cities and skies, and support regional economies in towns and cities too often termed ‘left behind’.

Advanced manufacturing relies on global supply chains and synchronised component supply so the political uncertainty surrounding these supply chains and future trade is crippling. Investment has stalled as businesses that plan decades ahead are left with little confidence and even less clarity over regulations, quotas and tariffs that could be in place under a fortnight.

UK manufacturing is world-class, admired globally. It stands ready to deliver on the greener, better future the planet and people demand, creating the decent, skilled jobs so desperately needed, especially by our young people.

The Prime Minister must return with a deal to parliament. Whatever its failings, MPs of all parties must back it. The alternative of a no deal will cause irreparable damage to manufacturing and the wider UK economy. Expose its shortcomings and lay out plans to plug the holes and fill the gaps, but right now it’s time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with UK workers. Anything else would be an act of gross industrial vandalism that will not be forgiven by those impacted by it.


Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary – Manufacturing, Unite
Mick Graham, Convenor JLR, Solihull
Daz Reynolds, Convenor Airbus, Broughton
Paul Cox, Convenor Nissan UK, Sunderland
Matt Gould, Convenor McVities, Manchester
Martin Foster, Convenor British Steel, Scunthorpe
Peter Tsouvallaris, Convenor Toyota, Burnaston
Mark Porter, Convenor Rolls Royce, Barnoldswick
Barry Firth, Convenor Coca Cola, Wakefield
Stephen Davis, Convenor Tata Steel, Port Talbot
Carl Needham, Convenor Siemens, Lincoln
John Cooper, Convenor Vauxhall, Ellesmere Port
Mary Callaghan, Convenor Kraft-Heinz, Kitt Green
John Sweeney, Convenor GKN, Bristol
Stuart Davis, Convenor Bentley Motors, Crewe
Ian Magill, Bombardier/Spirit Aero, Belfast
Maxine Cuthbert, Convenor Nestle, Tutbury
Kerry Owens, Convenor General Electric, Nantgarw
Dave Imre, Convenor Two Sisters, Sandycroft
Paul Williams, Convenor LEVC, Coventry
Kevin Pearson, Convenor Ford UK
Paul Russell, Convenor Princes Foods, Long Sutton
Frank Duffy, Convenor GKN, Birmingham
Steve Williams, Convenor Cummins, Huddersfield
Paul Leckie, Convenor ADL, Falkirk
John Anderton, Convenor Aston Martin, Gaydon
Steve Sargeant, Convenor BMW Mini, Cowley
Kenny Smith, Convenor JLR, Halewood
Gary Reay, Convenor Vauxhall, Luton
Mick Livingstone, Convenor JLR, Castle Bromwich
Dave Elson, Convenor Rolls Royce Motors, Goodwood
Andy Thorne, Convenor BMW Pressings, Swindon
Trevor Fletcher, Convenor BMW Pressings, Swindon
Graham Roomes, Convenor Ford UK
Jason Powell, Convenor BMW Engines, Hams Hall

MIL OSI United Kingdom