Bombardier to review all UK plants
THE future of hundreds of jobs remains uncertain after Britain's last remaining train-making company lost a major contract to Germany.
Yesterday Bombardier, which employs around 300 people in train maintenance in Crewe, confirmed it was reviewing all its UK operations.
It announced it would have to cut more than 1,400 jobs in Derby after the Government decided to award a lucrative carriage order for the Thameslink route to Siemens.
The company said the job cuts would affect 446 permanent staff and 983 temporary workers.
Colin Walton, chairman of Bombardier Transportation in the UK, said: "The loss of the Thameslink contract, has forced us to conduct a UK-wide review of our operations. This announcement is part of an on-going process."
The news has left people uncertain about what the job losses will mean for the Crewe plant, although the firm said yesterday's announcement will have no direct impact.
Councillor Roy Cartlidge, who represents Crewe West on Cheshire East Council and chairs the Crewe Railways Environment and Manufacture (CREAM) group, said he was very worried about the potential knock-on effect the loss of contract could have on the town.
He said: "I am very concerned about it. I am just hoping something will be revived in Crewe, as we need to keep the skill base we already have.
"We should be thinking about building British trains for British railways and we need to keep jobs in Crewe to make the economy vibrant."
A spokesman for Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said he was concerned about the future for workers in Crewe.
But he said: "We are not going to speculate about what is going to happen in Crewe.
"Mr Timpson has been in touch with Bombardier to make sure that whatever was being announced wouldn't have any direct impact on Crewe."
Bombardier has already more than halved its Crewe workforce in the last three years. In May 2008 it employed 700 people but in 2009 the workforce endured three rounds of cuts.
In May 2009 80 jobs were shed followed by 60 employees taking voluntary redundancy in September.
Then just three months later another 63 workers were axed leaving employee numbers at around 300.
Rail minister Theresa Villiers said the bid by Siemens, which will build 1,200 new carriages in Germany as part of a £6 billion upgrade of the Thameslink route from Bedford to Brighton, represented the "best value for money for taxpayers".
But Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, said: "The situation at Bombardier has reached crisis point.
"The Government must now act swiftly and decisively to save Britain's last train manufacturer.