Britishvolt and Unite the Union sign partnership agreement

Britishvolt and Unite the Union have signed a partnership/enabling agreement for Unite to represent workers at the company’s full-scale Gigaplant in Northumberland.

A commitment was made to work in partnership over the next 12-months on a single union agreement for workers at the battery manufacturing plant which is due to start phase one ‘Go to Market’ operations by 2024 and reach full capacity of around 38GWh towards the end of the decade. 

Britishvolt’s Gigaplant will create thousands of skilled jobs, regenerating a site that was previously home to the UK’s largest coal-fired power station. This is true transformation for the area, bringing much needed employment and investment to the region.

A core part of Britishvolt’s business model is centred around ESG. Creating a safe, successful and collaborative work environment for employees is an imperative for the battery pioneer.

Julia Potts, Head of Employee Relations at Britishvolt, and Suzanne Reid, Regional Co-ordinating Officer with Unite the Union, signed an Enabling Agreement which is the first step towards a recognition agreement at the Cambois site in South Northumberland.

Julia Potts, Head of Employee Relations at Britishvolt, said: “This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get things right, not only for the planet, but also the workers vital to a successful switch to a sustainable future. Low-carbon sustainable battery cells are essential for a successful energy transition, but so too are the people that manufacture the cells. With the support of Unite and through the BV FutureGen Foundation the company will retrain and reskill the workforce needed at the Gigaplant.”

Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary for Unite, said: “Today, Unite welcomes Britishvolt’s commitment to work with Unite looking forward to creating a proactive relationship at a  time when they are providing an exciting opportunity creating high quality and skilled jobs for the local area.

“It is clear that Britishvolt are at the forefront of the JUST initiative, the transition towards a climate-neutral economy in a fair way that leaves no one behind and I urge Government to support them in their efforts. Manufacturers like Britishvolt must be supported with an industrial strategy, that not only allows development but also shows global leadership in this area. Unite looks forward to supporting Britishvolt in this new era for manufacturing.” 

Graham Hoare, President Global Operations, Britishvolt, said: “This partnership underscores Britishvolt’s belief in the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance [ESG]. Often the focus is on the Environmental pillar, however, doing the right and responsible thing by our people is essential to Britishvolt and its culture. The S and the G are just as important as the E.

“We aim to be the employer of choice, and by working with Unite we are engraining this. Low carbon batteries will be essential to meet society’s net zero targets, but just as essential, if not more so, are the people that build those batteries.”

Image: courtesy Britishvolt

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