Labour accuses ministers of ‘complacency’ over Alstom Derby redundancies

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh is accusing the Government of ‘complacency, negligence and creating chaos for Britain’s rail manufacturing industry’. She has been visiting the Alstom works in Litchurch Lane Derby, where the factory is being mothballed because of a lack of orders for new trains. 

Alstom has announced it will have to start preparing for 1,300 redundancies. Hitachi has also said that up to 700 jobs are at risk at its Newton Aycliffe works in County Durham.

Alstom UK managing director Nick Crossfield has blamed the Government for ‘continued delay in providing us with certainty and clarity’.

In a leaked letter to transport secretary Mark Harper, he said: ‘The ending of train manufacture at Derby Litchurch Lane after 147 years is an outcome we have been working extremely hard to avoid.

‘After 10 months of inconclusive discussions, we must now begin the arduous and disruptive task of demobilising manufacturing operations at Derby Litchurch Lane.

‘A production gap of this scale is totally unsustainable for Alstom and our supply chain to manage.’

Labour said it has called on ministers to ‘urgently explore all options’ to avoid job losses, including amending or bringing forward rolling stock contracts.

Louise Haigh said: ‘Our rail manufacturing industry is in crisis. Manufacturers’ order books have dried up as the transport secretary has sat back and done nothing about it. Our rail industry needs certainty, stability and leadership. This government has only given them complacency, chaos and negligence, with avoidable job losses being the result.

‘The transport secretary has questions to answer on why he has failed to deliver on agreements to maintain a consistent order schedule for rail manufacturers. The sector urgently needs a long-term rolling stock strategy to provide stability and certainty.

‘Britain was the country that created the railways, but that legacy is being trashed by a Conservative Government that is content to oversee its managed decline.’

The Department for Transport has said that ‘rail manufacturing plays an important role in growing the UK economy and delivering better services for passengers.

‘The Government is committed to supporting the entire sector and we remain in close contact with Alstom to secure a sustainable future for rail manufacturing at Derby.’

Back to News

Related Articles