March to save Bombardier jobs !

July 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm (Europe, Jim D, protest, solidarity, unions, Unite the union, workers)

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”



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 its decision
to exclude Bombardier from a crucial contract to build new carriages for the
Thameslink project.

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:

If you are organising coaches to the
rally please email details to


  1. Jim Denham said,

    Janine B reports on a dramtic improvement in the RMT’s “line” on Bombardier, passed at today’s Exec meeting:

    “We condemn Bombardier’s plan to cut hundreds of jobs at its Derby plant, with 446 job cuts already notified with the total probably to rise to 1400. These job cuts follow the decision by the Government not to award the Thameslink contract to Bombardier, will cause further job losses in Bombardier’s supply chain, and will be a devastating blow to Derby and its surrounding area.

    “Bombardier’s Derby plant should be brought into public ownership (as should the whole railway industry), to protect jobs, services and train manufacturing.

    “Train travel is increasing, there is an obvious need for new rolling stock on many services, both existing and planned. There is also a clear benefit to the environment in the manufacture of new trains. There should be enough train manufacturing work to ensure jobs in train manufacturing in this country and in others, preventing job cuts in Bombardier, Siemens or any other company.

    “We therefore instruct the General Secretary to continue our political campaign using our parliamentary group. Also the General Secretary is instructed to continue to seek legal advice over this disgraceful situation, especially issues highlighted in correspondence by Brother David Faircloth of Derby.

    “We note the planned Mass Rally for Derby on Saturday 23rd July 2011 organised in conjunction with our sister unions TSSA, Unite & GMB. The General Secretary is instructed to keep e-mailing and texting out details of the rally up to the last minute to encourage as many members to attend as possible.

    “We call on the whole trade union movement to get behind this fight to save jobs, and instruct the General Secretary to submit an amendment or emergency resolution (as appropriate) to TUC Congress on this matter.

    “We also resolve to campaign to recruit non-union members at Bombardier’s Derby plant into this union.

    “We note that UKIP and the BNP are trying to get involved with this campaign, hoping to portray it as a nationalist, British vs. German issue, rather than a class issue of workers vs bosses. We reject this, and will not offer a platform to UKIP speakers in this campaign or tolerate any BNP involvement.

    “Any updates to be placed back before the General Grades Committee.

    “All branches and Regional Councils to be kept up to date with our campaign to save the last train-building plant in the UK.”

  2. Mr Jelly_not_Jolly said,

    in yankland

    this will be coming soon to UKltd

  3. Ron Bowdery said,

    Cameron has this referendum on line. This seems ideal for the Save Baombardier Campaign. Get 100, 00 people on line & the matter will have to be debated in parliament, maybe the Siemens deal will have to be put on hold

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