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Posted on 7 July 2011 at 15:12 GMT

Stop the jobs slaughter at Bombardier, Derby

Steve Score, East Midlands Socialist Party

Derby has been rocked by the announcement of the loss of more than 1,400 jobs by the train manufacturer Bombardier. The company says that the immediate cause of this is the loss of the 1.4 billion government contract to build 1,200 carriages for the Thameslink project.

Instead the contract was awarded to the German company Siemens.

This comes only months after Cameron hypocritically took the whole Con-Dem cabinet to Derby to pledge support for manufacturing industry!

The 446 permanent workers and 983 agency-employed staff would only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the job threat for Derby. For every directly employed worker there are four jobs in the support industries that would go.

It would mean thousands more thrown on the dole queues to add to other jobs under threat as a result of the continued economic problems and the public sector job cuts.

When the government was challenged about the effects of public sector cuts, which could put 750,000 workers out of work, it claimed that manufacturing industry and the private sector would take up the slack.

This government action proves that to be a lie too! Public and private sector workers have a common interest in uniting with each other against attacks by government and employers alike.

Bombardier, a Canadian owned company, is the last train manufacturer left in this country. There is apparently no new work on the order books from September and the company is carrying out a review of its UK operations.

It has not ruled out the possibility of closure of the Derby plant which currently employs 3,000 workers. It has been claimed that many of the job losses would have taken place even if Bombardier had won the contract.

Economic nonsense

The government claims that the contract was awarded to Siemens as it represented the "best value for money" and under EU rules they have to show that the award is the best for the taxpayer.

However this is rubbish when you consider the massive potential long term cost of the loss of up to 15,000 jobs - the lost tax and extra costs that will result from people being pushed onto benefits.

This economic 'neo-liberalism' makes no sense!

Labour MPs are blaming the current government but the same process was happening under the last one. In reality all three main parties are to blame for allowing the crisis of banking and big business to devastate industry and jobs.

At present, the lack of a mass party for working class people is hampering the fight to save jobs. The Socialist Party believes that these jobs must be saved.

Skills built up over years in the workforce could be poured down the drain. The first step in our view is to demand that the company is nationalised under democratic workers' control and management to save jobs; with compensation paid to the company owners only on the basis of proven need.

If governments can nationalise banks like RBS to stop the financial meltdown then they could do the same at Bombardier! Let's have the company's books open for inspection.

Let's see where the previous profits have gone. Why, in a time of increased awareness of the effects of climate change, is there not a huge push to expand the rail network in order to reduce road traffic? A fully integrated plan of public transport, publicly owned and democratically run, could be used to expand the network and utilise the skills that exist in workplaces such as Bombardier.

This approach of planning what is best for society, rather than in the interests of profit, would enable plenty of work for all, in Britain and in other countries.

The bosses try to set workers from different countries up to compete with each other. But a 'race to the bottom' - jobs being relocated in a drive to cut costs and maximise profits - is not in the interests of workers in any country.

German workers face their own struggles against redundancies and for decent pay, terms and conditions.


The unions Unite, RMT, GMB and TSSA have organised a massive joint demonstration in Derby on Saturday 23 July. In a press release, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "We intend to bring the whole of Derby out on to the streets in protest at plans that would destroy core manufacturing industry and thousands of jobs in and around the city.

This act of political vandalism would impact on every single person in the area". The Socialist Party appeals to public sector workers to take part in the demonstration too, to undermine the government's attempts to divide workers in the public and private sectors.

This can be the beginning of a massive campaign to save jobs; support already exists from the people of Derby who know what the further decline of industry will mean to them.

The trade unions will now have to consider what other options are open to them in terms of industrial action. If the plant is threatened with closure they should consider following the example of the Vestas wind turbine factory and the Visteon car plants where occupations of the factories took place a couple of years ago.

Demonstration in Derby against the job cuts called by Unite, RMT, GMB and TSSA unions

Saturday, 23rd July

10am from Bass Recreation Ground marching to a rally at Cathedral Green.

Derby Socialist Party public meeting:

Wednesday 13th July 2011
Brunswick Inn, 1 Railway Terrace, Derby DE1 2RU

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 July 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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