Cumbernauld’s parliamentarians criticise UK Government’s ‘passive’ attitude to Cummins closure

The Cummins UK diesel engine factory in Cumbernauld
The Cummins UK diesel engine factory in Cumbernauld

Cumbernauld’s parliamentarians have criticised the UK Government for its ‘passive’ attitude towards jobs in Cumbernauld.

Back in October it was announced Cummins, which specialises in the distribution of engines and generators, was planning to close its Napier Place plant after 30 years.

The company blamed the decision, which will affect around 130 jobs, on ‘market conditions’.

Last week the News & Chronicle reported that more than 80 workers facing redundancy are to ballot for strike action.

Last month, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP Stuart McDonald and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn wrote to the Minister for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom, regarding the proposed closure.

This followed from frank exchanges with the US Firm’s CEO and senior staff regarding their lack of engagement with themselves, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, and Unite the Union.

Mr McDonald also submitted a written question asking what engagement the UK Government had undertaken with Cummins directly.

The response from Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, did not confirm any engagement had taken place and stated it was a ‘commercial decision’ for the firm.

Mr Hepburn and Mr McDonald are keeping up their calls for Cummins to consider possible routes to keeping the plant open, particularly by responding positively to the offer made by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to provide support.

In a joint statement, Mr McDonald and Mr McDonald said: “The complete lack of action from the UK Government is disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising given their attitude towards Scotland and their usual passive stance to intervening in situations like these.

“Any reasonable Government would at the very least be able to support our calls for positive engagement from a major firm such as Cummins.

“Cummins have refused to consider the prospect of Scottish Government support through their agency Scottish Enterprise, which is a source of considerable frustration.

“The Napier Place site continues to play an important role in the firm’s operations and it is up to Cummins to do right by their workforce and come to the table.”