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Survey predicts huge job losses as Bombardier loses Thameslink contract

UK unions to attend parliament to voice objections over award of rail contract to German company Siemens

More than two-fifths of companies in train the manufacturer Bombardier’s supply chain will cut jobs as a result of the company losing out to Siemens in the bid to build the Thameslink rail fleet.

A survey by Survation for the Unite union of 125 companies in the Bombardier and Siemens supply chains also revealed that almost 6% of those surveyed relied entirely on Bombardier for their business. Only a quarter of those surveyed supply Siemens.

The award of the contract to Germany’s Siemens has caused an outcry, with critics saying the government should have bought British. The Canadian firm Bombardier runs the UK’s last train factory in Derby, and the decision has already led to 1,400 job losses.

Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “As this survey shows, it is not just about 3,000 skilled jobs in Derby; there are thousands more which depend on Bombardier up and down the country.”

Trade unions will be at parliament on Wednesday to make their feelings clear on the award of the contract to Siemens. The RMT union described the decision yesterday as a “betrayal” of the losing bidder.

They are attending the select committee on transport, which is meeting to discuss UK rolling-stock procurement, at which representatives of both Siemens and Bombardier will be questioned.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “The fight to defend train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world, in the teeth of government inaction and EU diktat, remains well and truly on.”

The government named Siemens as its preferred bidder for the Thameslink trains in June. Bombardier subsequently said it would cut 1,400 jobs in Derby.

The continuing row over the Thameslink contract is raising the stakes for the deal to build the Crossrail train fleet. Siemens is again on the shortlist. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds