Stand up for rail industry jobs

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The shock decision by Tory Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to name the German firm Siemens as preferred bidder for a £1.4bn Government train manufacturing contract must put under threat the future of Bombardier, the Derby-based train manufacturer, and threaten the jobs of thousands of skilled workers in the UK, including South Yorkshire, who are presently employed in the UK train manufacturing industry.

The shock decision by Tory Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to name the German firm Siemens as preferred bidder for a £1.4bn Government train manufacturing contract must put under threat the future of Bombardier, the Derby-based train manufacturer, and threaten the jobs of thousands of skilled workers in the UK, including South Yorkshire, who are presently employed in the UK train manufacturing industry.

Ms Villiers’ decision has prompted angry responses by numerous union leaders and Labour MPs and it is still possible, subject to the development of a united campaign, to prevent her preferred bidder decision becoming a firm contract.

Hopefully, the entire Labour movement will, without delay, rise to this challenge.

Ironically, also in Derby in 1971, when Rolls Royce was experiencing serious financial problems, Ted Heath, after announcing that the UK required such an important manufacturing company, nationalised it and it remained in the public sector until being privatised by the Thatcher Government in 1987. Had it not been for the Heath government decision, Rolls Royce, presently one of the UK’s most important employers and foreign currency earners, would have ceased to exist many years ago.

William Ronksley

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