Unite launches West Midlands SOS for Jobs campaign as furlough scheme winds down and job loss fears mount

MPs from throughout the West Midlands have been invited to participate in Unite’s West Midlands launch of its SOS for Jobs campaign

Where: 6 Holt Court North, Heneage Street West, Birmingham B7 4AX.

When: Friday 16 October 11:00 – 13:00

With the government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) winding down at the end of this month and employers highly dubious about utilising the new Job Support Scheme (JSS), there is a growing danger that the UK will see a huge wave of mass unemployment in the coming months.

Manufacturing heartland

With the West Midlands at the heart of the UK’s manufacturing sector and with thousands of jobs in industries such as automotive and aerospace, which have been heavily affected by the pandemic, the region is on a cliff edge of the loss of tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs, plunging families into poverty.

The situation is made more complicated with much of the region having to also cope with highly restrictive lockdown rules.

UK out of step

Unite believes that the UK is out of step with other European countries, such as France, Germany and Spain which are providing long-term financial assistance to key industrial sectors affected by the pandemic.

At the socially distanced launch of the SOS for Jobs campaign, Unite will make the case for targeted support for the sectors which are vital to the local economy which will, in turn, boost economic growth.

Huge uncertainty

Unite Regional Secretary for the West Midlands, Annmarie Kilcline, said: “The West Midlands is the heartland of UK manufacturing and hundreds of thousands of workers across the region are facing huge uncertainty as furlough comes to an end.

“It is apparent that with a second wave of COVID-19 already hitting the region and lockdown ensuing, that far more government assistance is needed to protect jobs.

“Employers are clearly unconvinced by the government’s Job Support Scheme which does not provide sufficient financial support and is too short-term in duration to protect many jobs.

“If we are to avoid plunging the West Midlands over a job loss cliff edge the government must provide further support immediately.

“That is why Unite has invited MPs to attend the event and, hopefully, together pressure can be applied to the government to act - and act now.”