Following Nissan’s ‘outstanding’ efforts in repurposing its facilities to produce hundreds of thousands of pieces of much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), Unite today (Wednesday 29 April) urged other firms to join the Covid19 ‘manufacturing army’.
Nissan was one of the first firms to answer Unite’s call to produce PPE for use in the fight against coronavirus, with the car maker now delivering up to 100,000 face visors and 18,000 aprons per week to the NHS from its Sunderland plant.
Unite assistant general secretary, Steve Turner, said hundreds of other manufacturers had proudly signed up to produce PPE, but urged more companies with both capacity and capabilities to get involved to address continued shortages to front line workers and the fact that coronavirus ‘will remain a threat for many months to come’.
Turner also called on the government, who have now appointed a ‘PPE tsar’ after pressure from Unite, to ‘act quickly and turn an eager army into a productive one’ through the ‘coordination and encouragement’ of firms able to produce vital protective equipment.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Nissan was one of the first major companies to answer the call made by Unite and our sister unions to create a manufacturing army to end shortages of masks, aprons and other life-saving equipment. The company’s efforts in repurposing parts of their manufacturing capabilities have been matched by our members determination to produce vital PPE for frontline workers battling this terrible virus. Working together they are delivering outstanding and life-saving results.
“Key to the success in getting PPE rolled out on such a large scale has been the resourcefulness and creativity of Nissan’s world class workforce, Unite members, who have volunteered their time and skills to get this essential project off the ground.
“Hundreds of manufacturers are going the extra mile to serve our country in its time of need. But more needs to be done. PPE is still in short supply and Covid19 will remain a threat for many months to come. To those firms who are yet to get involved, if you have the capacity and capability – and can keep your workers safe, we urge you to get involved.
“The government also has its part to play – these efforts need coordinating and encouraging if they are to have maximum impact. Following pressure from Unite, ministers have appointed Lord Deighton as PPE tsar. We expect Lord Deighton and the government to act quickly and turn an eager army into a productive one, to harness the full capabilities of UK PLC to ensure no more working people risking their lives to save ours go without the equipment needed to keep them safe.”