Investment at Unipart 'cut if Labour wins'

John Neill, chief executive of the Unipart car components group and one of Britain's most outspoken industrialists, yesterday threatened to curb his investment plans if a Labour government implemented its policy on trade union recognition.

Mr Neill, a fervent supporter of Thatcherite union policies, also claimed that a high-profile speech by Labour leader Tony Blair in the Far East last year, advocating a stakeholder economy, was based on one of his own speeches.

Launching a typically scathing attack on Labour's employment policy, Mr Neill labelled the party's plans to force employers to recognise unions, which he said were part of a drive to implement the European Social Chapter, as "foolish" and "a step backward."

The policy states that employers should recognise unions in individual factories if a majority of staff votes for it.

Referring to recent moves by Unipart to invest more than pounds 90m in four joint ventures, Mr Neill warned: "We would not have made this investment if we'd had the Social Chapter. If we revert to that mindset it will have a profound impact on our forward investment plans."

Though Mr Neill's opposition to union recognition is well known, Unipart has a strong reputation for encouraging employee involvement, including its much publicised "University" for staff training. Unipart this year donated pounds 50,000 to Conservative Party coffers.

The most surprising claim was that Mr Blair had copied a speech by Mr Neill urging employers to adopt the vision of a stakeholder economy, a concept long advocated by the privately owned Unipart group. "That speech was based on one of my speeches. Peter Mandelson told me that," Mr Neill said.

A veteran of union disputes during a spell at British Leyland in the 1970s, he said: "I 'm not anti-union, I believe we've done things which mean there should be no need to have a union."

Asked whether Labour's policies had become more friendly to the business community, Mr Neill said:

"Blair has done a good job of leading his party but it's by no means clear whether he can run a complex economy. I suspect there are a lot of things we don't know about Labour's policies."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory