“Tens of thousands of Northern Ireland workers are employed in businesses which are dependent on the free movement of goods and services into the province."
Unite: Northern Ireland political representatives must support a form of the customs union to avoid a damaging hard border.
“Due to political failure, we do not have a functioning Executive and Northern Ireland’s voice is not being heard. It is vital that our politicians do not fail Northern Ireland again and allow a situation where a hard border becomes unavoidable.
“Tens of thousands of jobs are tied to trade in goods and services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Any hard border will result in delays and red tape for our manufacturing and agri-food sectors in particular and result in disinvestment and the further loss of jobs in higher-value-added sectors of the economy.
“It is not surprising that hard-line Brexiteers in the Conservative party don’t care about that outcome, but it is shocking that local representatives are not straining might and main on this issue.
“In the absence of any customs union arrangement, the only question will be whether we get a hard land border, north-south, or a hard sea border, east-west. Both outcomes would be hugely damaging to our already weak economy.
“Northern Ireland’s politicians must use their Westminster seats to secure a tariff-free trade access deal – there can be no excuses given the dire consequences of a hard border. It is in everyone’s interests here that the UK secures a customs union arrangement with the EU and avoids the impact that a hard border will have on our economy and on the working-class”, Mr Thompson said.
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