Derby mourns deal blow
Morning Star: By Paddy McGuffin, Friday 15 June 2012
Derby workers at Britain's last train-building firm reflected today on the one-year anniversary of a £1.4 billion government contract sent abroad that put their future in doubt - and which still hasn't been signed.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers announced on June 11 2011 that the Thameslink deal would go to German firm Siemens.
She was condemned at the time by unions Unite and RMT, with the latter accusing her of overseeing a hugely damaging "stitch-up" of British industry.
And last month Ms Villiers told the Commons: "The Department for Transport expects to conclude the core project agreements with Siemens and Cross London Trains shortly.
"Cross London Trains and their lending banks then need to conclude the financing documentation required to secure the necessary equity and debt funding for the project."
But today RMT said that the whole procurement process remained mired in financial chaos as a result of the eurozone crisis and is no closer to being signed off despite the fact that thousands of British manufacturing jobs hang in the balance.
The union accused ministers of "dragging out for a whole year an act of industrial vandalism that continues to leave the future of train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world hanging by a thread."
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "This one year delay in the botched handling of the Thameslink contract nails once and for all the government lie that it is too late to award the work to Bombardier in Derby, which is geared up and ready to go.
"It is sheer government ineptitude that has left thousands of jobs dangling by a thread and the whole future of train building in the UK on the critical list.
"On the first anniversary of this act of industrial vandalism RMT is demanding an end to the whole long drawn out Thameslink fleet scandal and a cancellation of the failed Siemens deal in favour of Bombardier in Derby, where the skills and capacity to deliver these trains isn't bound up with the Eurozone financial crisis."
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle also condemned the delay, saying: "Ministers must now accept that its choice of a failed funding model not only cost British jobs but is now delaying the entire project."