City and business leaders have warned the Government that there will be “terrible consequences” if it fails to step in and save nearly 180 years of train manufacturing in Derby.
Production lines at the city’s Alstom Litchurch Lane site will grind to a halt in a matter of weeks because of a lack of orders for new train fleets from the UK rail sector.
The company and unions have been locked in talks with the Department for Transport for months in a so far unsuccessful bid to persuade it to bring forward contracts to safeguard the jobs of hundreds of workers at the factory and thousands more in the UK supply chain.
They have been supported by management at Transport for London, which wants Alstom to build additional trains for the capital’s Elizabeth line.
Rail sector experts also believe there is desperately needed refurbishment work for current rail fleets in passenger service that could be commissioned into Derby.
Now the city’s leaders are to join a lobby of Parliament on 6 December, organised to coincide with a meeting of a select committee on rail rolling stock, to demand the Government acts.
Leader of Derby City Council, Baggy Shanker said the Alstom plant is a strategically crucial part of the UK’s rail capabilities and the Government needs to recognise this.
“There will be dreadful consequences for the city, the East Midlands and the country as a whole, if train production in Derby is lost. The hundreds of jobs that will disappear at Alstom will be mirrored by thousands more in the supply chain and when the nation does want to order new trains in the future, it will struggle to find anyone in the UK to build them.
“This is simply unthinkable for a country which gave railways to the world and the Government has to find the political will to resolve this crisis.
“It is deeply ironic that only months after Westminster recognised the importance of the rail sector in Derby by making it the headquarters of newly formed Great British Railways, that we should now have to fight to save a vital part of the industry.”
The Council’s view is shared by the city’s business community and representatives will join the lobbying of Government ministers on 6 December.
John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, added: “The threat to the future of train building is a clear and present danger and the civic, business and wider community will not stand by and watch it happen.
“A solution is in the hands of Government and we expect that our collective voice will be heard in Parliament next week.
“We are a world leader in rolling stock manufacturing and, as a city and country, we should be investing in that skills and talent pool to help grow the economy.”
City Leaders have been working closely with Alstom, Unite and senior Government officials to explore potential resolutions to the current situation since possible job cuts were revealed back in September.