Jobs in the rail supply industry will be at risk and the future of the sector will be threatened if Britain leaves the European Union, Labour MEPs warned today.
The European Parliament will vote today on a resolution on the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry which includes calls for the European Commission to come up with an integrated and coherent industrial policy strategy, and ideas on how to keep a high level of manufacturing in Europe tied in with broader re-industrialisation efforts.
It comes as the chairman of Hitachi, which is making new trains for the East Coast, Great Western and Scotrail lines, warned that leaving the EU would force the company to “rethink” its UK operations and jobs.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on the rail supply industry, told MEPs:
“It was with real pride that I attended the opening of Hitachi Rail Europe's train production plant at Newton Aycliffe in autumn last year.
“A real success story of what we should be promoting in the North East in terms of inward investment and local job creation - all credit to the local community, the trade union movement, County Durham's investment team and local MP Phil Wilson working together to attract rail production back to the very place that the first ever passenger trains were built."
Paul Brannen MEP added:
“On Monday this week, the chairman of Hitachi made it clear that, while respecting the democratic rights of UK citizens, ‘Brexit would force us [Hitachi] and similar companies to rethink, because we still have a European vision, and would be disadvantaged in pursuing it from the UK.’
“Meaning less investment and fewer well paid, high skilled jobs in my region.
"For the European rail supply industry, today’s report sets out the challenges for the sector, but for British production and its workforce, nothing is as urgent as remaining in the EU on 23 June."