Even the local football club has come down on the side of railway workers at Litchurch Lane in Derby – threatened with closure when the Thameslink train building contract was batted oversees to Siemens in Germany.
Derby County players sported ‘Save Our Rail Industry’ shirts and children of Bombardier workers were special guests at the match against Birmingham.
Says Derby County boss Nigel Clough, “We support the campaign to make the Government think again. The contract won’t be signed off until the end of the year, so there is still time to make a change. I hope common sense prevails.”
Over 6000 people gathered in Derby to march in support of the threatened railway works – the last train builders in Britain.
Managers, trade unionists, eurosceptics and railway staff joined together to march through the streets in a strong show of support. Bombardier’s UK chairman, Colin Walton, spoke at the event urging a rethink.
Local MP Margaret Beckett said, “Blame us for the tender process. Then (let the government) take the credit for changing its mind. I don’t care. Just do the right thing.”
Although David Cameron and the coalition government have said they cannot change the outcome of the tender process railway staff and supporters remain unconvinced.
Says RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, “The campaign to save Bombardier is gathering momentum by the day and if the Government thought we would go away quietly then they seriously underestimated our determination to get this bad decision over-turned.
“We welcome the fantastic support of Nigel Clough and Derby County which gives the campaign a massive boost. The fight to save Bombardier and train building in the UK is well and truly on.”
Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey is also right behind the protests.
“The people of Derby have good reason to be proud of their football club and of their city for the huge support they have shown for the workers at Bombardier. Their stadium deserves its name Pride Park. This is a great football club supporting a vital local employer.
“There is an overwhelming sense of outrage at the government’s decision to turn its back on Britain’s last train maker.
“David Cameron is doing a disservice to a world class workforce, to Derby and to the future of train making in this country. It’s time the Government stopped scoring own goals and backed UK workers.”
In June, the government announced that the consortium led by Siemens had beaten Bombardier Transportation’s consortium to be the preferred bidder to build the 1,200 new carriage contract on the Thameslink route.
Bombardier remains the reserve bidder for the contract. As a result 1,400 workers face redundancy and the future of Bombardier, the UK’s last train maker is at risk along with a total of 3000 jobs and many more in the supply chain.