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.

SHERWOOD FOREST IS OUR FOREST! – report from a well attended meeting in Nottingham on 27th Jan 2011. Plus PCS press release.Plea

Photo of save Sherwood Forest packed meeting on 27th January 2011Contact the campaign: Contact email:

Update: 3/1/2011Save Sherwood Forest website launched. Please link to the site if you are running a blog or website yourself. Thanks.

Here is a comprehesive report from a very well attended meeting held in Nottingham about the planned sell-off/privatisation of forestry land in England including Sherwood … come back to this page as we should have more specific contact information and hopefully an email group you can join. In the meantime you can contact Notts SOS in the usual way.

On 27th Jan 2011 over 70 people from all over the county packed into a meeting in Nottingham to express their concerns about the future of Sherwood Forest.

They were clear that the ownership of Sherwood Forest matters. It is something that is too vital and deeply rooted in the people of Nottinghamshire to be simply sold off by the Government. The meeting was convened by Notts Save Our Services and the Climate Alliance.

Sherwood Forest is now a complex web of woodland and forest which has a global identity as part of the legends of Robin Hood. A large part of the forest is held and operated by the Forestry Commission on behalf of the people.

Large tracts of forest land have been developed and managed by the Forestry Commission since 1919 following the ravages of the U-boat attacks during the first world war when forests were decimated to sustain war production. These forests freely open to the public and in public ownership are what the Government wants to sell. They have recently been developed as important free public recreational spaces and to be seen as vital environmental resources all at minimal public cost – around 30p/year for tax payers!

It was agreed that we cannot allow the our forest to be sold in haste on global markets in response to the ravages of the banking crisis. Sherwood Forest is at the core of our heritage, a wonderful amenity for all and an essential part of who we are now and also of our common future.

Paddy Tipping speaking as Vice President of the Ramblers made clear the importance of the access to land, access that was hard won over many years of struggle and mass action. We need to be very wary of Government promises, he said, and to be aware of the prospect of future amendments. We should not let go of our hard fought rights to roam or the necessary supporting resources.

Kaye Brennan set out the position of the Woodland Trust who have been working with and lobbying Government intensively over the past three months. They are clear that there should be no disposal of any land until there is a
binding commitment to complete the work to restore ancient woodlands. Like other charities, the Woodland Trust is not in a position to take over responsibility for managing large areas of forest she said.

People expressed concern at the reluctance of the Government to make any clear commitments so far and the majority were strongly against any sale of public land. The talk of the Big Society may be a smokescreen for selling off forests to the private sector.

Andrea Oates of the Nottinghamshire Save Our Services campaign placed the sale of Sherwood Forest in the context of the other Government cutbacks which are facing increasing resistance and also of the large number of jobs that are at risk in and around the forest. Andrea encouraged people to add their names to the campaign by 38 degrees which now has nearly 300,000 signatures, lobby their MPs about their opposition to the sell off and to
demonstrate against these proposals (see below).

Peter Robinson of the Climate Alliance stressed the importance of maintaining the forest to respond to the threat of climate change and of the capacity of forests to absorb carbon dioxide without the need for expensive and elaborate technology.

The meeting was encouraged to hear that some job cuts threatened in Sherwood Forest as part of Government cutbacks have been postponed in response to the public reaction so far – a clear indication of the power of the
public voice.

There was astonishment when we learned that the government is not going to bother to assess the health and environmental impacts of any disposal. We were reminded of the decimation of the Amazon rain forests that followed the collapse of confidence in the new fangled ‘hedge funds’ of ‘Long Term Capital Management’ in the 1990s which were unable to provide the promised financial security.

After a well-informed and passionate discussion it was agreed to organise a protest and rally in Sherwood Forest calling on people from all over the the county and neighbouring towns and cities to demonstrate to Government that we mean to fight to retain our forest. Similar actions are expected to take place across the country.

Many people at the meeting signed up to a ‘Save Sherwood Forest’ organising group which is hoping to launch the campaign in the near future. In the mean time for further information see:

Ian Hewitt, Health in Your Environment, Friday 28 January 2011

Report on Notts Trades Council site:

See the press release from the PCS below

Forestry body costs public less than a packet of crisps a year

27 January 2011

The public body responsible for managing the UK’s forests costs less than the price of a packet of crisps a year for each person in England, PCS says.

The value for money provided by the Forestry Commission, at less than 30p each every year, is highlighted as the government prepares to sell off forests with a ‘consultation’ being launched today.

The union, which represents 900 staff at the commission, says the government should keep the whole of the English public forests in public ownership and publicly run.

The Forestry Commission currently runs multipurpose forests – visited by 40 million people a year – providing economic, social and environmental benefits, as required by internationally recognised principles for good forest management.

Public ownership ensures the commission carries out a wide range of functions that the union does not believe can be provided by the private and voluntary sectors.

In 2009 the commission conducted a detailed study of the long-term role of public forests that concluded public ownership was essential in supporting the forestry estate.

Private sector owners would inevitably want to make a profit and would be likely to cut down swathes of forests, restrict public access and facilities, and would not provide the same level of support for environmental objectives.

With charities having to rely on fundraising, as well as support from taxpayer-funded grants, the union does not believe there are any savings to the exchequer from such a transfer.

In a recent YouGov poll for campaign group 38 Degrees, 84% of the public said they did not want their forests sold for private profit, and more than 200,000 people have signed a petition to oppose the sell-off.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our public forests are extremely important for the environment, for wildlife and to help solve problems such as climate change. The government is putting all this at risk with a dangerous ideological plan to sell them off to the highest bidder.

“While the voluntary sector does a lot of good work in our forests, we do not believe volunteers can replace experienced staff and forest managers.
“With the Forestry Commission providing such good value for money the alternative is clear, and the government should scrap its plans to allow big businesses to profit from our natural environment.

One Million Climate Jobs Now! Solving the Economic and Environmental Crises – public meeting in Derby on 31st Jan 2011

One Million Climate Jobs Now! Solving the Economic and Environmental Crises – public meeting
Time/Date: 7:00–8:30 pm on Monday 31st January 2011.
Venue: Friends Meeting House, St Helen’s Street, Derby DE1 3GY.

Download leaflet: one million climate jobs now – joint NUT Derby Climate Coalition meeting

Suzanne Jeffrey: N.U.T.
Chandra Morbey: Rail Engineer in Derby

Suzanne Jeffrey is Chair of the National ‘Campaign against Climate
Change’ Trade Union group which has produced the best-selling
pamphlet ‘One million climate jobs’. This makes the case for the
creation of employment in renewable energy, refitting buildings,
public transport, industry and education.

Chandra Morbey will look at the potential for railways upon jobs
and the environment.

All welcome.

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