TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has warned that the North East must not be allowed to suffer economically because of Brexit.
On a visit to industrial innovation specialist Materials Processing Institute in Teesside, Frances O’Grady said:
“Getting Brexit right is crucial for working people in the North East. This is a region with huge automotive and chemicals sector that export goods across Europe.
“I’m not just talking about factories closing, but about the disruption that could be caused to supply chains. We’re already hearing worrying noises about firms delaying investment decisions.
“The government can’t allow Brexit to endanger jobs and livelihoods in the North East.”
On industrial strategy, she said:
“If things continue as they are, the North East will become an even smaller part of the UK economy than it was 25 years ago.
“That’s why we need real industrial planning, that brings together businesses and unions, and propose custom plans which play on every area’s unique strengths. Whitehall-imposed diktats are not going to reverse this decline.”
On insecure work, O’Grady said:
“The North East is an insecure work black spot. Two in every three jobs created in the North East since 2012 was insecure- the worst rate in the UK. Over 125,000 workers are now trapped in zero-hours contracts, temp work or in low-paid self-employment.
“Ministers need to live up to their election pledges and ensure that everyone in the North East can find a decent, secure, well-paid job.”
Material Processing Institute CEO, Chris McDonald said:
“It is important for the government to utilise the diverse range of expertise in the North East to support its industrial strategy objectives.
Investment in the Tees Valley and promoting the circular economy will create new and sustainable jobs in the region. The zero carbon hydrogen hub initiative that the Institute is working on to help industry explore and develop green energy generation is a good example how we as a region can bring together both the industrial and commercial expertise to support long term economic growth.”