Unite convenor Parliamentary lobby offers members fresh hope


Workers at BAE’s Brough plant have told UnionNews they have been buoyed by their visit to London to try to save their site.

They met both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and won support from MPs from all political parties.

Their aim was to highlighting the devastating impact of BAE’s decisions to cease manufacturing at Brough after almost a century with the loss of 900 highly skilled jobs.

The event was organised by Unite and GMB and the lobby of parliament also involved family members including children.

The lobby came against the backdrop of new unemployment figures showing a 17-year high, and amid renewed focus on the importance of rebalancing the economy away from financial services.

Unite convenor at Brough Ian Gent said: “About 100 people have come down, including families, men, women and children saying ‘We are all part of this’ and a powerful message is coming over about how this is so destructive to families.

“The overwhelming feeling from talking to all the delegates who came is very positive.

“We have been in with the two most senior politicians in the land, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, who both said they understood this is an issue that needs to be looked at.

“What Cameron did do was say he will talk to Ian King, the chief executive of BAE and get a meeting together to involve all the relevant people, and that is really significant, while Ed Miliband was wholly supportive.

“The trade unions en masse with the workers and the political parties are saying something needs to be done, so it is now back to BAE Systems, who have made an ill-thought through and hasty decision to cease manufacturing at Brough.

“This is about rebalancing the economy, as the government has declared manufacturing is key to economy recovery, and there are no unskilled people on the site, this is about retaining a national asset.

“The site has been pretty despondent, there have been seven rounds of redundancies in 10 years and we have lost 250 people every year over that time, and every one of those has been fought.

“But the people who have made the effort to come down have said it was a great day.

“I am buoyed by the response and the game is far from over.”

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