This Saturday’s march in Derby (23 July) to protest the loss of 1,400 jobs at the Bombardier train manufacturing plant (and a further 13,000 jobs in the supply chain and other businesses), deserves the support of all trade unionists and socialists. But many of the arguments being used by the main unions involved (Unite and – especially bad – the RMT) do not.
The threat to the jobs results from the government’s decison in June to award the £1.5 million contract for new carriages for Thameslink, to the German company Siemens. RMT and Unite are demanding that the government withdraws the contract from Seimens and award it to Bombardier. Bob Crow of the RMT is also making a point of trying to blame the EU, stating: “If the government and their puppet-masters in the EU think the fight for the future of Bombardier is over then we’ve got news for them – it has only just begun.”
But demanding that German workers (and quite possibly some UK workers at the Siemans factory in Tyne and Wear) lose jobs so that Derby workers keep theirs, is a thoroughly reactionay, nationalist approach. And blaming the EU is a complete diversion: even a letter in the stridently anti-EU Morning Star points out:
“While I have no wish to defend the EU, Brian Denny [a leading anti-EU campaigner] is not entirely correct when he states that the loss of the train contract by Bombardier to Siemens is due to the ‘EU public procurement and liberalisation rules.’
“While these are stringent, they do allow local considerations to be factored into any tendering process.
“That’s how the Germans and French are able to protect their industries.
“If our government was also determined to protect British jobs it could do so, despite EU regulations.”
In rejecting nationalist “solutions” that seek to privilege UK workers above foreign workers, and/or which let the UK government off the hook by blaming the EU, we need to take human and ecological need as our starting point. It is clear that there are more than enough trains and rolling-stock that need making to provide work for both Siemens and Bombardier workers. And if not trains, then other socially useful products that the Derby plant could fairly easily be converted to make.
-Adapted from this much longer article.
Comrade Mark Catterall adds:
“The ridiculous thing is that Bombardier have a virtual monopoly on producing DMU’s (Diesel Multiple Units) since rail privatisation. The last Labour Government announced 1300 carriages would be produced to deal with overcrowding including hundreds [to be made by] Bombardier. Very little has materialised.
“Rather than getting drawn into a possibly nationalist argument about Siemens (German) rather than Bombardier (Canadian, manufacturing in Britain), there is a requirement for hundreds of DMU’s to deal with overcrowding and replace obsolete rolling stock. Order the bloody DMU trains NOW. I’m sick of travelling on 30 year-old DMU’s”
SUPPORT THE MARCH
& RALLY TO SAVE BOMBARDIER
Join the Unite / RMT
rally in Derby city centre in support of Bombardier and help keep
UK rail manufacturing on track.
1,400 workers face
redundancy and the future of Bombardier, the UK’s
last train maker is at risk.
Join us to call on the government to
reverse it‘s decision
to exclude Bombardier from a crucial contract to build new carriages for the
Saturday, 23 July, 2010 at 10.00
Meet at Bass’s Recreation Ground
(opposite Derby bus station), at the intersection of A601 St Alkmund’s Way and
B6000 Station Approach, Derby and march to the rally at Cathedral Green at the
intersection of Full Street and Amen Alley, Derby.
Join us on the
march and rally and bring your families and friends, please note there will be a
childrens’ entertainer at the march to keep youngsters occupied. Speakers
include Diana Holland, Unite Assistant General Secretary.
Dedicated car and
coach parking is available at:
Car parking at
The Meteor Park &
The Meteor Centre
(DE21 4SY) is located to the north of the city, on the A61.
It is easily accessible from the A38
North and from the Pentagon
Coach parking at
the Pride Park & Ride
Pride Park (DE24 8AN) is located to the east of the city, near
to the A52. It is easily
accessible from the A52, the Pentagon
Island, London Road and Station
Approach in the city centre.
For more details on
Park & Ride visit: http://www.derby.gov.uk/TransportStreets/PublicTransport/Buses/parkandride.htm
If you are organising coaches to the
rally please email details to Karen.Viquerat@unitetheunion.org.