Make it here! Defend manufacturing skills and jobs

Brian Denny of the No2EU -Yes to Democracy campaign sets out the reasons why so many jobs were lost at the Derby company and demonstrates that no industry is safe from EU vandalism.

The loss of more than 1,400 jobs at Britain's last train-making company Bombardier in Derby is the direct result of Con-Dem collusion with harsh EU "public procurement" and "liberalisation" rules.

The jobs are to go after the government awarded a lucrative order for Thameslink to Siemens of Germany rather than to Derby-based Bombardier.

 

A consortium led by Bombardier had been competing with one led by Siemens of Germany for a contract for 1,200 new carriages as part of a £6 billion upgrade of the Thameslink route.
Last month the government announced that Siemens would be the preferred bidder for the contract.
Announcing the winner, Tory Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said the bid by Siemens, which will build the new carriages in Germany, represented the "best value for money for taxpayers."
Yet Bombardier had to win the Thameslink contract to survive.
So the government's "value for money for the taxpayer" is paying dole money for 1,400 workers in an economically depressed area while work is transferred forever to Germany and this country's skills base is further eroded.
Yet this is the logic of all British governments since the Thatcher period, as all have promoted EU demands for privatisation, "liberalisation" and the tendering out of public contracts to the lowest bidder regardless of the consequences. The latest casualty is train-building.
"Public procurement" is public spending at all government levels, including our embattled public services, and is reckoned to be 40 per cent of global spending. 
This is clearly a major prize for transnational investors - ie parasitic finance capital. But, while Britain has led the way in selling off all its industries to any old carpet-bagger, other EU member states have been, understandably, more circumspect.
The internal EU Procurement Directive was largely written by finance capital itself through its huge lobbying power. It was designed for all member states' spending to be liberalised across the EU.
But only 13 per cent is currently liberalised, while 87 per cent is still being spent with domestic companies.
That 13 per cent reveals the extent of the British government's ideological commitment to EU liberalisation, regardless of reciprocity, and its acceptance of what other member states have clearly and logically resisted.
The rail industry has borne the brunt of this industrial and economic vandalism over the last 30 years.
From the 1983 Serpell report, which began the long demise of train manufacturing, to the disaster of rail privatisation in 1993 based on EU rail directive 91/440, successive governments in Britain have fatally undermined the rail sector by blindly following EU procurement rules, "liberalisation" and the farming-out of contracts to the lowest bidder.
Meanwhile French and German governments have largely ignored these EU rules and illegally loaded the contracts to take into account the economic and social impact locally, clearly benefitting the host country.
In the last three years nearly 100 per cent of train-building contracts in both countries have gone to their own respective firms like Alstom in France and Siemens in Germany and, as a result, they now dominate the industry in Europe.
The European Commission is not pleased with this "national champions" approach adopted by France and Germany and wants to impose a "European" solution that would look remarkably like what is happening in Britain today.
Therefore the commission has launched a new "recast" of its first EU rail liberalisation package designed to privatise remaining state-owned railways in Europe and switch investment from the "social railway" to a corporate "single European railway area" with a priority on high-speed and trans-European rail freight to serve Europe's single market. 
The commission's latest proposal - a "directive establishing a single European railway area (Recast)" - is a smash-and-grab raid on state-owned railways using EU "liberalisation" rules to impose privatisation despite the fact that no electorate in Europe has ever voted for privatised railways. 
French CGT rail union spokesman Henry Wacsin said: "This 'Recast' represents nothing less than a project led directly by the commission, to completely break up public-sector, state-owned monopolies in railways and to use the market and EU rules on competition to create corporate, transnational EU transport and logistics monopolies."
The McNulty report on the railways also complies with these EU plans and was written with an eye to promoting Britain as the shop window for this latest stage of EU rail privatisation. 
Page 68 of the McNulty report summary even demands "due attention is given to conformance with EU and public law restrictions, EU directives, particularly with regard to the separation of railway infrastructure and undertakings and EU procurement and State Aid constraints." 
McNulty and the Con-Dem government share the EU's mania for "liberalisation" and privatisation as weapons to attack social railway, jobs, pay and pensions and deliver lucrative contracts to monopoly capital. 
And while British governments remain enslaved to EU public procurement rules designed to benefit finance capital at the expense of member states and their citizens, no industry is safe.