Derby City Council has announced that it is seeking talks with Alstom in response to expected job losses at its Derby factory. The Council is concerned about the impact that the job losses will have on the city's economy and is urging Alstom to work with the government to find a solution.
Alstom is the UK's leading supplier of trains and is responsible for the production of just under 40% of the UK mainline train fleet. The company's Derby factory is it's only UK train factory and employs 2,000 people.
It is believed that the job losses are due to delays in future contracts, including the production of trains for HS2 and lack of a new contracts coming through. The project has been delayed due to a number of factors, including legal challenges and cost overruns.
The delays to HS2 have had a knock-on effect on Alstom's Derby factory, which has been forced to reduce production.
Derby City Council is concerned about the impact that the job losses will have on the city's economy with the factory a major employer in the city and its closure would have a significant impact.
Councillor Baggy Shankar, leader of Derby City Council, said: “Litchurch Lane factory site is a unique asset for Derby and we understand the impact these job losses will have on our residents and the wider region.
“As a Council, we’re ready to play our part and urge the Government and unions to work closely with Alstom to ensure a sustainable future for the factory, which would not only benefit the thousands of staff at the site, but many more across the local supply chain.
“The rail sector is immensely important to the city, and was recognised earlier this year with Derby being named the home for the new Great British Railways headquarters. We stand with Alstom and their workers during this challenging time and pledge to support wherever we can.”
The Council is urging Alstom to work with the government to find a solution to the problem. The government has said that it is committed to supporting the UK's rail industry and confirmed it was in dialogue with Alstom, however, it is unclear what specific measures the government will take to help the company and other train manufacturers.
Recently, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) warned of pipeline issues and highlighted the risk of factory closes, and RIA chief executive, Darren Caplan commenting on the possible job losses at Alstom’s Derby factory said: “The potential job losses in Derby being urgently discussed by the DfT and Alstom are of course a real cause for concern for the company, rail manufacturers more widely, the Midlands, and the UK railway industry generally.
“We at the Railway Industry Association highlighted just six weeks ago that rail manufacturing jobs were in jeopardy, that skills and experience could be lost, and that there was a risk of factory closures unless urgent decisions were taken this year to upgrade or replace trains which are already or will soon be 35 years old.”
An Alstom spokesman told Rail Technology Magazine, “Derby is very important to Alstom and to the UK rail sector. It is the only UK factory that can design, engineer, build and test trains for domestic and export markets. We are committed to working with Government to secure a sustainable future for the factory, our 2,000 staff and the over 1,400 UK suppliers we work with.”
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