UK: Wabtec announced plans to reduce its workforce at Doncaster by up to 450 employees on June 16.
The company will enter into a 45-day consultation period with employee representatives and trade unions to discuss the proposal and improved work practices. It is envisaged that the jobs would go between Q3 2020 and Q1 2021.
Wabtec told Rail Business UK that the market was changing, with passenger operators updating their fleets with new rolling stock rather than refurbishing existing vehicles.
‘Given these realities, Wabtec is proposing to realign the site to focus on projects best suited for its operational strengths and better position the facility for long-term success’, a spokesperson said. ‘Decisions like this are never easy, but it will improve the site’s cost competitiveness and offer customers the best value.’
The company said the Doncaster site completed most of its refurbishment projects in 2019, and has a strategy in place to fulfil the remaining commitments.
Responding to the news, General Secretary of the RMT trade union Mick Cash said ‘the plan to almost halve the Wabtec Doncaster workforce with the loss of 450 jobs is devastating news for the area and the industry and is wholly opposed by RMT.
‘The fact that these savage cuts have been smuggled out under the cloak of the Covid-19 crisis is a disgraceful way to act and the plans should be immediately withdrawn to allow for discussions with the government and local politicians on how we protect these skilled engineering jobs before they are lost for good.’