Unite, the UK’s leading union, is calling for the creation of a joint taskforce to secure the long-term future of the Alstom train manufacturing site in Litchchurch Lane, Derby.
The demand from Unite, which represents hundreds of workers at the Alstom factory, follows the announcement that 1,300 plus jobs at the company are at risk and a further 900 plus jobs are under threat in its supply chain.
The proposed job losses are a direct result of the delay in the construction of HS2, Alstom has secured the contract to build the trains for that project but work will not begin until 2026. The majority of the current work at the company will be completed early next year.
There is significant other work that Alstom could bid for and which would fill the gap in its order books including refurbishment contracts for both the South East and South West train fleets and the building of additional trains for Crossrail. However, the department for transport has failed to bring forward the tenders for these contracts and has blamed delays on the pandemic.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There is absolutely no justification for the proposed job losses. It is madness that there is a huge amount of work that Alstom could and should be bidding for but the government has not got around to tendering for it.
“The government and Alstom should both be bending over backwards to keep hold of these highly skilled workers and this strategically vital and unique site. Unite will leave no stone unturned in its campaign to secure these jobs.”
Unite believes a taskforce involving the government (including representatives from all key departments), Alstom, the local council and itself is essential to speedily develop solutions to prevent the job losses occurring or at worst mitigating the numbers involved.
A combination of contracts being brought forward to the tender stage to allow Alstom to bid for them, combined with the company investing in the site and transferring in some of its overseas work, would end the need for job cuts and futureproof the plant.
The Alstom site is unique in the UK as it can undertake all aspects of train manufacturing, design, build and testing.
Workers deserve better
Unite regional secretary for the East Midland Paresh Patel said: “Rail workers in Derby deserve better than this, their futures have been thrown into jeopardy by issues beyond their control.
“Ministers can’t be allowed to wash their hands of this crisis and they must come forward with a just solution. Equally, Alstom needs to play is part and invest in the site to reinforce its position as a world leader in train manufacturing.”