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Bombardier protest against job losses
Around 40 Bombardier workers, trade unionists and members of the community protested today outside the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum (DDRF) conference.
The DDRF is an organisation that represents businesses involved in the rail industry in the East Midlands.
Its chair, Colin Walton, is also chair of Bombardier in the UK. Despite this, Theresa Villiers, minister of transport, was billed to speak at the conference.
It was Villiers who announced earlier in the year that the Thameslink contract would be given to Siemens in Germany rather than Bombardier, prompting over 1,400 job cuts at the factory in Derby.
Also due to speak was Roy McNulty who chaired the study 'Rail Value for Money'. This study recommended that ticket offices should have more automatic ticket machines, trains should only have a driver on board and tracks and signalling should be checked by 'automatic technology' to cut staff numbers.
Workers who keep their jobs can look forward to reduced pensions, increases in working hours, pay freezes and more 'flexible' employment.
Protesters gathered to demand that jobs are saved at Bombardier and elsewhere in the rail industry but neither Villiers nor McNulty actually turned up to the conference!
Jake Madely, an RMT union rep at Bombardier said:
"Clearly everyone knows what's been happening with Bombardier; it's an absolute outrage. As far as the McNulty report goes generally, all he's looking to do is sack people.
"He might save a few quid but in the process he's going to put more and more people out of work and essentially collapse the rail industry itself.
"Various people are protesting here today from admin, people who work on the trains, the trade union council, Bombardier - the people it's going to have an impact on".
Those who attended the conference were the likes of the CEO of Network Rail and the chair of Crossrail.
These representatives of business do not primarily have workers' or rail service users' interests in mind.
The Socialist Party demands that Bombardier is nationalised under democratic workers' control and management as part of a re-nationalisation and expansion of the entire rail industry to provide jobs and decent, affordable public transport for all.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 3 November 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.