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Minister refuses to 'face the music' over Bombardier decision

12 December 2011

Fifty campaigners braved the Derby cold on 3 November to protest outside a conference of the Derby Railway Forum.

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Fifty campaigners braved the Derby cold on 3 November to protest outside a conference of the Derby Railway Forum. The protest, called by the Bombardier Community Support Group, set out to demonstrate the continuing local opposition to government plans to award the Thameslink contract to German firm Siemens – a decision which will cost thousands of jobs at Bombardier and throughout its supply chain.

Speakers at the event included Sir Roy McNulty, whose report on the future of the rail industry has been met with dismay by TSSA, other rail unions and campaigners for sustainable transport. Teresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Rail, had been scheduled to attend the conference but pulled out the day before, citing ‘constituency business’. Then-TSSA General Secretary Gerry Doherty slammed the u-turn, saying that Villiers was backing out of facing up to the music. Since the protest, further pressure has mounted on the beleaguered rail minister and new Transport Secretary Justine Greening, calling on them to reverse the decision. Protesters waved placards with slogans including ‘A future for British rail manufacturing’, ‘Save jobs at Bombardier’ and ‘Stand Up for Derby’.

Alison Martin, one of the campaigners at the protest, said, ‘We are here to show the government that they can’t wash their hands of this disastrous decision. If the government were serious about supporting industry and defending jobs, they would do the decent thing and award the contract to Bombardier, which they have the legal powers to do.’

Alison added: ‘The people of Derby are fully behind the Bombardier workers and I encourage everyone who agrees with us to get involved and show their support for the campaign.’

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