Save our Jobs! Save skills and industry!

How determined are we to help stop the destruction of Bombardier jobs and skills, and the end of train building in Britain? Asks Bill greenshields in today's Morning Star. The answer may well emerge from the Bombardier meeting being held today during another lobby of parliament.
The campaign started well with a massive petition of over 50,000 signatures presented to Parliament and a spirited and determined demonstration by 10,000 people cheering on speakers expressing a determination not just to protest but to fight all the way.
 
The Bombardier unions, the local paper, the trades union council, local MPs and a newly formed community support group have worked hard to prevent the government from sweeping its destructive intent under the carpet, finally getting Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to admit that it is within the government's power to reverse the decision to give the contract to Siemens.
But has the government listened? It promised a smear of "jam tomorrow" with suggestions of possible future small contracts, but it continues to apply "the rules" of the European Union and to serve the interests of the powerful banks, whose manipulative "credit rating" system guaranteed that Siemens' financial backers could deliver the job cheaper than Bombardier's, even though the quality and technical base of their work could not match Bombardier's.
The process of throwing 1,400 Bombardier workers onto the dole is already under way, undermining the jobs of many thousands more workers in the supply chain.
So what are we to do? Of course we need to continue to lobby and argue, even though we have had a deaf ear turned consistently in our direction.
But we need to do more. The government anticipated opposition when it made its outrageous decision.
But it wants that opposition confined to safe areas - the established political processes that it controls. We can campaign and protest as much as we like - providing we do it on the government's terms.
So let's think again. What the government is really concerned about is the possibility of ordinary people saying: "We're mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more!"
The recent Trade Union Congress unanimously backed a call from rail union RMT and Unite to nationalise Bombardier if the company looked like pulling out of Britain.
But, in the meantime, it expressed frustration with the refusal of the self-appointed coalition government to negotiate or to listen to reason.
In the face of unparalleled attacks on industry, jobs, public services and the right to protest, the TUC called for widespread demonstrations and civil disobedience. TUC president Paul Kenny of the GMB has called for occupations to fight closures.
On top of the destruction of many of our industries over the last few decades, on top of massive public services cuts with hundreds of thousands more jobs to go, on top of attacks on pay and pensions, we now have total government intransigence in the face of massive public support for Bombardier workers.
All over Europe, and beyond, ordinary people are demanding an end to "austerity" and unemployment.
Despotic, tyrannical regimes have fallen. Surely we can handle a bunch of self-appointed, internally divided, privileged toffs.
We are presented with an opportunity to really show our feelings on November 3 when Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum hosts a £250-a-ticket conference of "the largest cluster of rail companies in the world."
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers, who said of Bombardier that, "with a very careful analysis and assessment of the numbers and with officials from the Department of Transport working closely with both bidders, it was apparent Siemens offered the best value for money," will deliver the keynote speech.
In 2009, while in opposition, Villiers backed the Change Track campaign which insisted that the then Labour government "justifies its decision to award a major contract to a Japanese consortium rather than Bombardier" and called for protection for the British rail industry.
Perhaps she needs to "justify" her cynical change of view.
The second speaker is Sir Roy McNulty, whose Rail Value For Money report for the government in May of this year recommended slashing £1 billion a year from our railways, massively cutting staffing and workers' wages in order to "compete."
It proposes 30 per cent "efficiency savings" by 2018 and demands "due attention is given to conformance with European Union and public law restrictions and European Union directives."
McNulty is also chief of the Olympic Delivery Authority overseeing ODA executive salaries of £200,000 for part-time work, with the eight directors sharing a £1.5 million bonus pot.
He has two more part-time "jobs" to add to his income - chairman of Ilex URC where he is paid £80,000 a year (and £15,000 expenses) for 10 days a month and chairman of Advantage West Midlands, where he takes £82,000 for a three-day week. Is this "value for public money"?
Network Rail executive director David Higgins is the third speaker.
He too advocates massive cuts to the rail industry generally.
"We are well on our way to cutting the cost of running the rail network by over £5 billion in the current control period 2009-2014," he said recently.
His personal pay and bonuses are just on £1m a year.
These are three people directly responsible for the problems we are facing - and they have the nerve to address a conference in Derby at the same time as Bombardier workers are thrown on the scrap heap.
Of course their conference is on a working day - this sort of cabal is what such people call "work."
It runs from 10am to 2pm with a question and answer session at 11.55, followed by a very nice two-and-a-quarter hour lunch. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
We should make every attempt to get to the conference at the Derby Conference Centre, London Road, Derby on November 3, though we don't necessarily have to find the £250 for a ticket.
Their website says that they are looking forward to a "lively and interesting conference and debate." Let's make sure they get it.