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Bombardier: Join the campaign to save UK train manufacturing

18 July 2011

As a result of the government's decision to give 'preferred bidder' status to Siemens in Germany for the contract to supply new Thameslink trains, Bombardier has announced that they propose to make hundreds of staff and agency workers redundant.

Since the government announced it was giving ‘preferred bidder’ status to Siemens in Germany for the contract to supply new Thameslink trains, it has been widely criticised.

Despite the urgent need for more and newer trains to cope with a huge increase in rail passenger numbers, it has been nearly three years since the last new train order was made. Because the government is failing to adequately invest in new rolling stock, Bombardier was very much reliant on the Thameslink order to give it work once current orders are completed. The contract to supply 1200 new vehicles is worth £1 billion.

As a result of the government’s decision, Bombardier has announced that they propose to make redundant 446 permanent staff. 983 agency workers will also be laid off. The company has also stated that it will conduct a review of its UK operations over the next 6-8 weeks.

The very future of Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane factory is now in doubt, the last train factory in Britain. Up to 12,000 UK jobs in the supply chain are also at risk. Derby also supports the world’s biggest cluster of specialised rail companies, many of whom would be adversely affected in the event that Litchurch Lane were to close.

In a meeting with unions last week, the Secretary of State Philip Hammond has confirmed that the wider economic impact of their decision on Derby and the British economy was not considered.

But it is not too late, the contract with Siemens has not been signed, and the government can still change its mind.

TSSA, along with the other Bombardier unions, has launched a campaign to persuade the government to reverse its decision, and safeguard the future of train manufacture in Britain by having the new Thameslink trains made in Derby. This will also help secure the jobs of Bombardier workers at other sites in the longer term.

The unions have called a demonstration and rally on Saturday 23 July. 

Location: March starting at the Bass Recreation Ground - followed by a rally at the Silk Mill Museum

Date & time: Saturday 23 July 2011, 10 am onwards

Bring family and friends. Many TSSA members have committed to marching behind the union’s banners and flags. You can download the poster below.

  Save Derby Railways Rally

Support for saving the Derby factory has been massive. Over 34000 signatures have been put to a petition.

Trade unionists from all over the country have pledged their support. The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Workers (to which TSSA is affiliated) held their conference in Southport last week. Emergency motions were submitted by both TSSA and Unite committing the CSEU to support the campaign were carried unanimously.

Derby City Council met last week, and Labour, Liberal Democrats and Tories united in their support to save the jobs at Derby.

Even London Underground Ltd, for whom Bombardier is completing a major order for new tube trains, has written pledging its support to the workers.

All TSSA members, whether or not they work for Bombardier, whether or not they work in rail, are asked to do all they can to support their colleagues in Derby.

A TSSA Campaign Committee will be established shortly. TSSA members that want to get involved in this campaign are asked to contact Tony Barrable, TSSA’s Regional Organiser, by email at barrablet@tssa.org.uk, or contact the TSSA Members’ Helpdesk on 0800 328 2673.

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