Thursday, 9 February 2012

Jobs assurance for Bombardier staff

By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent

Workers at train-builder Bombardier were today given confirmation that their short-term future was secure, providing a "breathing space" for the firm's main UK plant.
A series of employee meetings at the Derby plant heard that the Canadian company was retaining its design, engineering and manufacturing facilities.

Bombardier lost a lucrative GBP1.6 billion contract to build trains for the Thameslink route through London, when the Government awarded the work to German rival Siemens.
Unions and politicians launched a campaign to try to reverse the decision and attacked the coalition for not giving the contract to Bombardier.

Diana Holland at the July 2011 Bombardier rally in Derby

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said today:
"Bombardier's Derby workforce are highly skilled and make fantastic products. They've had a lot to endure over the past 12 months. Now at least there is some breathing space.
"The Government cannot afford to repeat the mistakes it made over the Thameslink contract in future procurement decisions. We are not asking for favours, we are asking for fairness.
"The Department for Transport must now construct the bidding process for new train contracts so that UK-based manufacturers can compete on a level playing field.
"The Government must take the social impact of its decisions into account and keep an eye on the wider industrial strategy, which is allowed under EU rules. The Government must also focus on a manufacturers' ability to build trains rather than the ability to raise cash.
"It is time to listen to the recommendations made about the Thameslink contract by the Transport Select Committee at the end of last year. The coalition has a duty to create the right conditions to support the UK's skilled manufacturing base."
Around 1,000 contractors and 200 permanent staff have been laid off at Derby since the Thameslink decision, leaving a workforce of just under 1,600.

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