Derby factory

UK: The Unite trade union has called on the government to bring forward rolling stock refurbishment contracts to secure jobs.

The union said the order book at Alstom’s Derby factory dries up at the end of the year, while work on producing High Speed 2 trains will not begin until 2026.

It said Alstom had been in talks with the Department for Transport asking for several refurbishment contracts for existing trains to be brought forward, which would allow it to bid for the work and potentially bridge the gap in its order book. However, the government has not agreed to this.

‘The government needs to get its head out of the sand and bring forward these contracts to improve existing rolling stock immediately’, said Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham on September 12. ‘It is frankly unbelievable that they have not already agreed to this, in order to safeguard thousands of highly skilled jobs held by Unite members at Alstom.’

Unite said there are around 2 000 workers at the Derby site and about 5 000 in Alstom’s supply chain.