Manufacturers have rejected renewed calls from trade unions for laws to make it harder for firms to axe their workforces.
Trade union Unite launched a policy document, Ripping the Heart Out of the UK’s Motor Industry, at Westminster last week.
It called for improved employment protection, higher redundancy payouts, stronger consultation rights and greater fines for non-compliance.
The loss of 35,000 jobs in the automotive sector over the past decade, like those lost at Jaguar and Land Rover, meant it was time to act, the report insisted.
Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, said it was “shameful” that companies were leaving the UK for countries where labour was cheaper.
But EEF deputy director of employment policy David Yeandle told Personnel Today there was no evidence of worsening conditions, and that stricter employment rights could actually threaten jobs. “The credit crunch has not demonstrated impact as yet in our sector,” he said.
“One of the benefits of the UK’s relatively light regulatory environment is that it attracts inward investment from overseas. Increasing legislation will not encourage companies to come to the UK,” he added.