ADL must ‘come clean’, says Unite

ADL responds to union’s claims the manufacturer must come clean over job cuts and Turkey plans

Trade union Unite claims Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) is using COVID-19 as ‘an excuse to cut 650 jobs’.

Unite also claims the manufacturer is using the pandemic as an excuse to outsource work to Turkey. The claims come as ADL is shortly to begin consultation on a restructuring programme, which it says is as a direct result of the significant decline in UK demand for new buses and coaches caused by COVID-19.

Unite says it has discovered the job cuts were planned before the pandemic. It is now calling for government support for ADL to be conditional on keeping jobs in the UK. The trade union says it has also discovered that the manufacturer plans to outsource a large bus-building contract for Berlin to a company in Turkey, despite what the union describes as using the decline in orders to try and justify planned cuts.

Unite has been calling for the prime minister’s promised order of 4,000 new low emission buses to be brought forward to help the bus and coach industry to recover from COVID-19, but says any support must now be conditional on ending job cuts, ending outsourcing and committing to the long term future of each site.

Unite national officer for automotive, Steve Bush, said: “Unite will not allow Covid-19 to be used as cover to cut jobs. It’s time ADL come clean and explain exactly what its new ‘NFI Forward’ strategy means for the future of all three UK sites. It is utterly unacceptable for the NFI Group to announce restructure plans to investors which impact our members and hope we wouldn’t notice.

“ADL is clearly not interested in a serious consultation. Unite shop stewards are demanding an immediate halt on planned job cuts, full disclosure of plans to outsource major contracts to Turkey and a commitment to the long term future of each UK site.”

In response to accusations concerning its business activities in Turkey, ADL says its European business development agenda is entirely disconnected from the actions it is being forced to take in the UK as a result of the pandemic. A statement from the manufacturer said: “In-territory build for international customers is the norm for ADL to ensure we are competitive, compliant with local legislation and highly responsive to the needs of our customers. Without a Free Trade Agreement, the situation for European orders is now no different, in the sense that import tariffs would make European contracts commercially unviable if manufactured in the UK. We welcome Unite bringing the topic of overseas build for prestigious European contracts firmly back on the table.”

ADL’s statement continued: “Following NFI Group’s acquisition of ADL in May 2019, the company commenced a long-range plan to look for opportunities for cooperation and optimisation to enhance its global competitiveness. However, when the Covid pandemic hit, the “NFI Forward” framework and a series of specific and immediate projects were borne out of necessity as a result of the global downturn in the bus and coach industry.

“We stand ready to build green buses which will deliver immediate benefits to the nation’s air quality, drive the government’s decarbonisation agenda and build a better and greener Britain, while mitigating against further job cuts right across our industry.”

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