OCCUPY BOMBARDIER! – call to defend every job

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RMT rail union members marching against government cuts and in defence of jobs
RMT rail union members marching against government cuts and in defence of jobs

‘Bombardier must be occupied and nationalised and all 3,000 jobs at the factory must be defended,’ All Trade Unions Alliance National Secretary Dave Wiltshire said yesterday.

He added: ‘This of course will mean a big struggle, with an occupation supported by mass strike action and a general strike to bring the coalition down.

‘This is the only way to defend jobs and to defend the interests of working people and youth and this is what must be done.’

The Bombardier trainmaker announced the sack for more than 1,400 workers at its Derby plant yesterday.

The sackings follow last month’s government announcement that German company Siemens has been awarded the contract to build 1,200 carriages for the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton.

Unions called for the government to reverse the decision and award the contract to Bombardier instead, but Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said this was not possible.

Bombardier said yesterday that there is not enough future work to keep the Derby facility, which employs 3,000 people, operating at current levels.

It said it plans to cut 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary contract staff.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: ‘The situation at Bombardier has reached crisis point. The government must now act swiftly and decisively to save Britain’s last train manufacturer.

‘The dire consequences of the government’s misguided decision to exclude Bombardier from the contract to build carriages for the Thameslink project is now becoming a reality.

‘Unite will be working tirelessly to maximise voluntary redundancies and natural wastage and we expect the company to fully cooperate with us, but the solution lies with the government.’

McCluskey continued: ‘Just three months ago, the Chancellor, George Osborne proclaimed that the Tory-led government wanted the words “made in Britain and created in Britain” to drive our country forward.

‘Today, these hollow words will stick in the teeth of the loyal and hardworking men and women at Bombardier.’

GMB Regional Officer Tye Nosakhere said ‘There is no excuse for this. The Prime Minister has to call in this decision and start again. Losing 1,400 manufacturing jobs is a body blow for both Derby and the UK economy.

‘This is a strategic decision. We have to maintain the capacity in the UK to make railway equipment.

‘There will be very little left in terms of metal fabrication skills in this workplace after this decision. You would not see French or German ministers making such a stupid decision.’

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘It’s a scandal that the government are colluding with the European Union in a policy of industrial vandalism that would wipe out train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world.

‘We will fight this stitch-up tooth and nail from the shop floor to the benches of the House of Commons.

‘German rail giant Deutsche Bahn awarded a £5 billion fleet contract to German company Siemens and no one batted an eyelid, but when it comes to British skilled manufacturing jobs getting support from this government all we get is a pack of excuses and they stand exposed as totally impotent in light of the BombardierThameslink scandal.’