UK: Alstom has begun collective consultation on the potential loss of 550 permanent jobs at its Litchurch Lane rolling stock factory in Derby, with 780 temporary contractors also at risk.
On November 15 an Alstom spokesperson said the company had been working with the government for the last six months ‘with the joint objective of securing a sustainable future’ for the factory, which has no confirmed workload beyond Q1 2024.
However, ’no committed way forward has yet been found and therefore it is with deep regret that we must now begin to plan for a significant reduction in activity at Derby by entering a period of collective consultation on potential redundancies at Litchurch Lane’.
The UK rolling stock market features peaks and troughs, and the Derby factory is currently facing a lack of future work before the start of production of HS2 trains through a joint venture with Hitachi from 2026.
Alstom said the UK remains one of its most important global markets, and that it would continue to operate 36 sites across its Rolling Stock, Services and Digital & Integrated Systems businesses. ’We look forward to fulfilling our commitments on HS2 and successfully competing for rolling stock opportunities across the UK in the future; procurements are underway at Northern, Southeastern and Chiltern.’, the company said in a statement.
The company added that it remained ‘open-minded as to the future of non-production functions located at Litchurch Lane and to potential future alternative uses for the Derby site. We will begin an extensive review of options, and will fully involve our stakeholders in this process.’
Responding to the announcement, Derby City Council Leader Baggy Shanker said the factory ’is a unique asset for Derby and the UK and we understand the impact these supply chain job losses will have on our residents and the wider region’.
He said the council had been ‘working closely with Alstom, Unite and senior government officials to explore potential resolutions to the current situation since the announcement of possible job cuts in September and we’re saddened to hear that a solution has not yet been possible. Ministers really need to commit and focus on this vital industrial sector. To date I’m disappointed that no minister has agreed to speak to us on this matter.’
A Department for Transport spokesperson said ’rail manufacturing is an important part of the UK economy and we will work closely with Alstom as it continues to deliver its contractual commitments, as we do with all rolling stock manufacturers.
‘While this is a commercial matter for the company, we have already set up a dedicated cross-government taskforce to properly support workers at Alstom during what will be a concerning time.’