Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bombardier demonstration in Derby on Saturday 23rd July 2011


Unions representing the Bombardier train-manufacturing workforce in Derby are organising a demonstration on Saturday 23 July in protest at plans to axe over 1400 jobs as a result of the Thameslink carriage contract being awarded elsewhere. This will affect many other jobs in Derby at a very difficult time and may also threaten the long term prospects of other workers at Bombardier.

Saturday 23 July. Assemble 10:00, Bass Recreation Ground, The Cock Pitt, Derby DE1 2
March to rally at Cathedral Green for 12 noon.

Unite, RMT, TSSA and GMB are amongst the unions that will support the demonstration. RMT point out that First Capital Connect workers will be affected as well as those in Derby. The contract is at the ‘preferred bidder’ stage, meaning the final contract has not been signed off, so pressure is aimed at getting the government to reconsider. Furthermore, The Climate Alliance is calling upon environmental activists, campaigners and trade unionists to join the demonstration and have produced a leaflet which makes the link between climate change and the need to invest in railways.

Members of Notts SOS will travel to Derby on Saturday to support the workers (by train, as far as possible!).

Background: Bombardier job cuts spark fears for Derby factory.

Bombardier, without the £1.4bn Thameslink contract, plans to cut 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary contract staff at the Derby site. Privatisation of British Rail in the 1980s all but halted ordering of new rolling stock, which ultimately led to the almost complete collapse of the industry in the UK. The Derby factory was formerly British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) and is now the only major rolling stock manfacturer in the UK.

Further details, including car and coach parking, from the Unite website: Support the march and rally to save Bombardier

Some further thoughts – based on National Shop Steward Network leaflet and some added info

British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) was a state owned company.
It was privatised in 1989 by a purchase from British Rail which according to ABB’s website comprised a consortium of ABB (40%), Trafalgar House (40%) and management/employees (20%).
In 1992, ABB increased its shareholding from 40% to 85% and after various changes of ownership, the Canadian multi-national company, Bombardier now owns the Litchurch Lane works in Derby.
The jobs massacre at Bombardier will devastate Derby and Britain’s manufacturing capacity if it is allowed to go ahead. The Derby Evening Telegraph reported “that Bombardier’s Derby factory could be the epicentre of an economic earthquake that could level many other smaller firms”.

A few months ago, Cameron and the ConDem cabinet came to Derby to pledge support for manufacturing jobs. George Osborne claimed the private sector would ‘take up the slack’ of 750,000 public sector job cuts. If they believed it, they do not know what they are talking about or as part of their agenda to increase profits for the capitalist class, they like to think of low paid jobs in non-unionised workplaces

The loss of the ‘Thameslink’ train-building contract threatens up to 20,000 jobs in the region. For every worker employed by Bombardier, at least 4 more jobs are supported further down the supply chain and then there are the job losses in the service sector. And these are skilled, well-paid, unionised jobs with proper apprenticeships and pensions. The loss of both direct and indirect jobs throughout the supply and support industries, as well as legal, technical, training, research and development services, even down to local shops and restaurants will devastate the East Midlands. As Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary says: “This act of political vandalism will impact on every single person in the area”.
More unemployment, more poverty, more desperation will be the immediate results of this decision unless there is a fightback

It is nonsense for the government to suggest that awarding the contract to Siemens represents “best value for money”. The huge long-term cost of a jobs massacre is loss of taxes and increased reliance on state benefits. The British Government ignores the fact it can include the social and economic impact in its tendering criteria as it does not care for the consequences of its big business, profit driven agenda.

Both the current ConDem and previous Labour governments – despite hand-wringing about job losses – have slavishly allowed big business in Europe to dictate the economic agenda. The EU rules “allowing” the ConDems to hang Bombardier workers out to dry are the same ones used by the last Labour government to start stealthily privatising the postal service.
And these are the same EU rules used to pitch us into “a race to the bottom”. It has been reported that the Bombardier bid is cheaper than Siemens on train design/build costs. However, on maintenance Bombardier were marginally more expensive over the 30-year lifetime of the contract because Siemens do not recognise trade unions in its British train maintenance workshops.

Bombardier’s train technology is fully proven and compliant and their B5000 bogies are tried and tested. Siemens are trying to develop their own bogies and want to lure Bombardier procurement and compliance teams and engineers to work for them (in Germany).

In the last five years Germany has built 97% of its trains domestically, France 100% and Spain 90%. British train building has almost been destroyed by nearly two decades of rail privatisation.

So what can be done? We need to unite around clear demands to support Bombardier workers and their communities.
• The government must immediately review and reverse its decision to award “preferred bidder” status to Siemens over Bombardier for the ‘Thameslink’ contract. All jobs must b defended. .
• To protect the future of train building in Derby and the UK, Bombardier’s Litchfield Lane plant should be re-nationalised with democratic involvement of Bombardier’s workforce and shop stewards’ committee, not cut adrift in the global market place. Rolls Royce was nationalised by a Tory government in 1971 when it faced a financial crisis and remained in public ownership until 1987, when it was privatised by Margaret Thatcher.
• Our trade unions and the TUC must lead industrial and political action to save the future of train building in Derby. We support the call for a massive demonstration and rally in support of Bombardier workers at the TUC Conference in London this September. We support the call of Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey at the Durham Miners’ Gala for direct action to save these jobs if necessary by occupation as carried out by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1973.
• The people of Derby and surrounding areas are marching with Bombardier workers. This must be the start of a massive campaign to protect jobs and stop the bosses riding roughshod over us.

Advertisements

Reports from Notts SOS July 9th protest and rally against the Health and Social Care Bill & NHS privatisation [plus Notts UnCut action and poem]


Campaigners from Nottinghamshire Save Our Service (Notts SOS) protested outside Virgin Media on Clumber Street, Nottingham on Saturday July 9th against government plans to open the NHS up to private companies.

The protest at Virgin followed a rally at Speakers’ Corner, Market Square, where Secretary of State Andrew Lansley was ‘put on trial’ for his role in promoting the Health and Social Care Bill, which campaigners fear will open the door to the privatisation of the NHS. Virgin Media was targeted because of a report which revealed that Assura Medical, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group was particularly well positioned to benefit from the Bill.

Full feature on Indymedia http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/1927Press release: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1917
Leaflet text: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1918
Photos/Audio of Lansley trial: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/1921

Notts Uncut report on July 9th: HSBC occupied to save the NHS

The Clumber Street branch of HSBC in Nottingham was occupied for 2 hours this morning by Notts Uncutters. This was part of the day of action to save the NHS called for by Notts SOS. The protest targeted HSBC for its involvement in PFI contracts that drain tens of millions of pounds from the health system. Also, due to its offshore tax arrangements, HSBC only pays a tiny fraction of its profits in tax. Full report: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/1916.
Photos of Virgin protest: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/1922

Poem sent to Notts SOS

Privatisation, a Step to Far

The New Pork Farms
Geriatric Medical Centre
Don’t sound up to much!

Fancy using a pig’s
trotter to replace
A sawn-off owd foot

Lord Biro

(not far from the truth either … although this was about Samworth Academy school).

Date for diary

Sicko by Michael Moore
Friday 14th October 2011
Paradiso Cinema at Chilwell Arts Theatre

The film investigates health care in the USA where illness can easily lead to bancruptcy (and worse) due to the greed of the health insurance business and pharmaceutical industry. The film compares the for-profit, non-universal U.S. system with the non-profit universal health care systems of the UK (now under threat) and other countries such as Cuba and Canada.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFkoX5l_4lU

‘Save Our NHS’ week of action in Nottingham and Notts – 5th and 9th July 2011 [plus video of Colin Leys presentation to Notts SOS]


kill the health and social care bill 2011 Notts SOSPlease come yourself and urge all your contacts to participate in these Save Our NHS events that will take place in Nottingham and Notts on Tuesday 5th July and Saturday 9th July. The government’s Health and Social Care Bill aims to open up the NHS to ‘any willing provider’. If passed, this Bill will fundamentally change the way our healthcare is managed and paid for in England, and it will result in vast inequalities. Opposition to the bill is already strong. The British Medical Association (BMA) of doctors have called for the bill to be withdrawn despite recent amendments, saying it will not protect the NHS. As users of the NHS we must also make our opposition known.

NOTTS SOS planning meeting: July 4th (Monday): Nottingham. ICC/YMCA, 7.30-9.00pm. Come and get involved with planning these events, and other anti-cuts activity.

NHS ANNIVERSARY EVENT: July 5th (Tuesday): Nottingham. Protest against privatisation of the NHS from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm at the London Road ‘BBC’ roundabout and help publicise the main city centre rally on Saturday. If some people could get there earlier at 3.15 pm this would be helpful as there are a lot of banners and placards to be erected.

NHS ANNIVERSARY EVENT: July 5th (Tuesday): North Notts. Come to the NHS’s 63rd Birthday Party on Tuesday 5th July at Bassetlaw Hospital, 11.00 am—2.30 pm. Meet near Blyth Road bus stop. Bring a balloon! Download flyer. See also Worksop Guardian coverage of local NHS listening event on May 27th.

SAVE OUR NHS MAIN RALLY: July 9th (Saturday): Nottingham. As part of the national day of action in defence of the NHS, Notts SOS will be rallying in the Market Square in Nottingham. We will rally at the Brian Clough Statue from 12 noon, followed by various activities around the city centre. Read press release. See Indymedia event for full details and list of supporters. Come and join this important event that will be happening across the country in many other towns and villages. Add your name to growing list of Facebook event participants.

NOTTS UNCUT SUPPORT ACTION: July 9th (Saturday): Nottingham. Notts Uncut are planning a very special action to support Notts SOS’s NHS day of action. We will be meeting outside Boots (Victoria Centre, Parliament St.) at 10am and then moving on to a secret target, however we need people to be around for this throughout the day. If you can turn up at 10am – brilliant, and the longer you can stay the better. If you aren’t available until later in the day please call us after 10am on 07856565214 and we’ll tell you where to meet us. Bring your nurses outfits, doctors coats, banners, placards and lots of energy! More info: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/events/1898.

Press Release: Campaigners celebrate NHS 63rd Birthday

Campaigners in Nottinghamshire will celebrate the 63rd birthday of the founding of the National Health Service (NHS) on Tuesday 5th July 2011, by holding protests warning of the threat it faces from the coalition government.

In Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Save Our Services (Notts SOS) will take over the London Road roundabout from 4pm-7pm. They plan to use the event to warn of the threat to the NHS and also to publicise a larger rally in Market Square at 12 noon on Saturday 9th July.

In the north of the county, campaigners from Bassetlaw Protecting our People and Services and Bassetlaw Save Our Services will hold a “birthday party” outside Bassetlaw Hospital from 11am-2pm.

The protests are an opportunity to celebrate the NHS and everything it has achieved, but are also an opportunity to warn people about the danger posed by the Health and Social Care Bill, currently going through Parliament.

Campaigners warn that despite the ‘listening exercise’ and government spin, the Bill still leaves the door open for private companies to take over the NHS.

Barry Donlan from Bassetlaw said, “Our NHS isn’t broken. So we don’t need to fix it. It has higher satisfaction levels and better outcomes than inefficient and unfair systems like the USA. At a time of supposed austerity, to spend £1.7 billion on restructuring the NHS and replacing it with an untried system seems the height of folly.”

Harry Powell from Notts SOS said, “The ‘pause’ to allow the government to listen’ has been followed by some changes and an extensive PR campaign. But we should not be fooled. The ‘reforms’ are still a very real threat to the NHS and there remains a pressing need to kill the Bill.”

Notes for editors
1.Notts SOS will also be holding a rally at Speakers’ Corner (the Clough Statue) in Nottingham from 12 noon on Saturday 9th July. This will be followed by various activities around the city centre. These protests form part of a “day of action to save our NHS”.

Previous action in May: Notts Rejects Plans For NHS and Emergency Operation. See also: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/groups/notts-save-our-services

Watch Colin Leys’ presentation to Notts SOS, author of ‘The Plot Against the NHS’