Businesses fear fatal impact from Thameslink loss


One in three companies think Crossrail’s decision to award the London Thameslink contract to Siemens and not Bombardier, the UK’s last train-making factory, will have a substantial negative impact on their sales.

The results of a survey published yesterday by train union Unite suggests that the decision in July to award the £1.4bn contract to Siemens will result in substantial job losses Bombardier’s supply chain.

Unite surveyed 125 companies that supply Siemens and/or Bombardier. Almost half the companies interviewed (40.59 per cent) said they planned to cut staff, with some already having done so.

Among the questions asked was: “How will you be affected by Bombardier losing the Thameslink contract to Siemens?” Responses ranged from “none” to “substantial” and, in some cases, complete closure.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The fact that less than one per cent believe they will benefit from the government’s preferred bidder is a devastating indictment of the government’s manufacturing strategy.

“The Department of Transport has openly admitted it failed to carry out an impact assessment on the consequences of not awarding the contract to Bombardier.”

Survation, which conducted the survey with Unite, said that overall, SMEs are likely to be the worst affected.

“These companies face higher job losses as a proportion of business and are likely to execute job losses in a shorter period,” the company said.

Almost two thirds (65.6 per cent) of SMEs Survation interviewed do not supply Siemens, compared to the survey average of 53.6 per cent.

The survey has encouraged Derby City Council to consider funding a judicial review into Crossrail’s decision if it’s not repealed.

Bombardier announced plans to lay off 446 permanent staff and 983 contractors after losing out on the contract.

MPs have since called for a review of the decision, and a parliamentary petition has gathering signatures. Today the Transport Select Committee will meet to discuss a review.