Unite Union Officers are working hard to secure the future of one of Scarborough’s most famous manufacturers. Plaxton’s has been building coaches and buses since the First World War. Recently it was announced by its parent company ADL that 96 employees would be made redundant.
The restructuring of the business, which also included factories in Guildford and Falkirk, first came to light in February when ADL made clear its intention to reduce its footprint in the UK. A successful tender for the manufacture of buses for Berlin was already designated for production in Turkey. The catastrophic consequences of the Covid pandemic for coach companies in the UK has also hit Plaxton and raised concerns that compulsory redundancies for staff have replaced negotiated provision.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been quick to support Unite Officials in their attempts to get ADL to explore all possible routes to safeguard jobs. The factory currently employs 750 people in and around the Scarborough area. Securing their future employment and the viability of the UK’s last bus manufacturer is of paramount importance.
Local Unite representative Paul Provins commented that “the best case scenario for the future is for the government and Transport Minister Grant Shapps to act and provide concrete proposals to save Plaxton from further redundancies.” One possibility that has been suggested is to gain access to the promised £3 billion fund to fund 4,000 green buses. At a time when the UK needs to reduce its carbon footprint and bus companies are suffering from cash flow problems, it is necessary for the government to demonstrate its commitment by facilitating the purchase of environmentally friendly transport from the only remaining UK manufacturer. Rather than a drain on the public purse this would be a major investment in UK manufacturing and workers, an opportunity for ADL to foreground its excellence in eco technology, and a major improvement in environmentally friendly public transport.