Former workers can apply to Unite for money after ‘disastrous’ decision to award Thameslink contract to Siemens leaves 600 agency workers on the dole


Unite has set up a hardship fund for Bombardier workers being made redundant because of the government’s decision not to award the company the Thameslink contract.

More than 600 agency workers have lost their jobs. The workers, many of whom had been at Bombardier for years, began leaving the company in October. Many will receive little or no redundancy money, and with over 180,000 people already unemployed in the East Midlands, many will struggle to find alternative work.

The former workers will be able to apply for support from the union’s regional office in the East Midlands and applications will be judged by a panel which includes Unite’s lead representative at Bombardier.

Earlier this year, the Tory-led government took the disastrous decision to award a contract to build new train carriages for the Thameslink contract to a consortium led by Siemens instead of Derby-based Bombardier. The government’s decision has put a question mark over the entire future of UK train manufacturing.

On Friday, 16 December the Transport Select Committee recommended that the National Audit Office should conduct a review of the Thameslink procurement process. The committee reported that the criteria used in the procurement were too narrowly drawn in excluding socio-economic factors.

All those requesting help from the Bombardier hardship fund must have worked at Bombardier in the previous 12 months and have been affected by redundancy or termination of agency contracts due to the job losses.

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Diana Holland, said: “Behind the government’s disastrous decision over Bombardier lies a human tragedy. Hundreds of agency workers with little or no rights to redundancy pay face a bleak Christmas and New Year.

“We believe that there were special circumstances which meant these agency workers should be able to get some modest financial support if they need it. The union has a process in place to allow these workers to apply for help from Unite’s East Midlands region.

“With unemployment at a 17 year high, the Tory-led government has shown complete contempt for Britain’s hard-working families. Even after all the evidence presented on why Bombardier needs to be supported, this government still seems intent on stacking the odds against its survival.”

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