The threat to Bombardier workers in Derby comes from an international coalition of privatisers, politicians and fatcat investors. Crazy conspiracy theory? Let’s look at the facts…writes CP chair Bill Greenshields.

 
Derby under threat  
 
Our town is threatened with the effective destruction of our railway engineering industry as the government awards its £6 billion Thameslink rolling stock contract to the German firm Siemens, rather than to Bombardier.
 
The “ripple effects” of the destruction of 1400 Bombardier jobs will be disastrous in Derby and the Midlands, with a further 13000 subcontractor and supply chain jobs likely to go.
 
It seems inexplicable that the British government, presiding over an economic crisis, would seek to invest abroad. 
 
But it is entirely in line with their determination to make ordinary working people pay for the crisis – and ensure that the fatcats of the transnationals get even richer.
 
It’s also in line with the Government enthusiastically toeing the line of international financial, economic and political organisations - notably the European Union – which demand both “austerity measures” and the operation of the “free market” – designed to force workers internationally to compete for jobs in what has been rightly called a “race to the bottom”, accepting ever reduced working conditions and pay in order to attract investment.
 
It is the European Union’s “public procurement” and “liberalisation” rules, which led government to declare Siemens as being the “best value for money” and put 1400 Derby workers on the dole – with the additional effect of abandoning apprenticeships, undermining the future of individual young people, and the country’s skill base
 
“Public procurement” – government spending on services and industry etc -accounts for huge amounts of money… around 40% of global spending. The big transnational investors see this as a massive source of profit, rather than a way of meeting the needs of ordinary people. So they have demanded that all government contracts in the EU be opened up to international competition, and have had this written into law as the “European Union Procurement Directive”
 
Many EU governments have ignored these rules. The German government has consistently awarded just under 100% of all rail contracts internally – notably to Siemens! The French government awards 100% of contracts to French firms such as Alstom. As a result they now dominate the industry in Europe.
 
The European Union Commission wants to impose their rules, with a “Directive establishing a single European railway area” imposing privatisation on remaining state railways in Europe, and forcing governments to award contracts to the lowest bidder internationally –  the “race to the bottom” in terms of quality, workers conditions and pay.
 
Evidence of this lies in the government’s McNulty Report in May of this year, recommending slashing £1 billion a year from our railways, massively cutting staffing and workers’ wages in order to “compete”. He proposes 30% “efficiency savings” by 2018, and demands "due attention is given to conformance with EU and public law restrictions and EU directives”.
 
David Higgins, Network Rail Chief Executive, whose pay and bonuses are just on £1 million a year, said: "We are well on our way to cutting the cost of running the rail network by over £5bn in the current control period 2009-2014.”
 
So the fight for jobs at Bombardier will not be easily won. We need a huge response from the people of Derby, the Midlands and the country as a whole. Trade Unions and the whole community need to unite in this – and the first opportunity will be at the rally called by the unions on Saturday July 23rd at 10am on the Bass Recreation Ground. Bombardier workers must not be left alone to fight.