July 5, 2011 – By Paul Sandle
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LONDON (Reuters) - Train maker Bombardier <BBDb.TO> is cutting more than 1,400 jobs at its plant in Derby, central England, after losing out to German group Siemens <SIEGn.DE> for supplying the Thameslink cross-London railway.
Bombardier said it would cut 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary jobs from its 3,000 strong Derby workforce as a result of missing out on the Thameslink contract and the completion of its current workload, which includes metro cars for London Underground.
"The culmination and successful delivery of these projects and the loss of the Thameslink contract, which would have secured workload at this site, means that it is inevitable that we must adjust capacity in line with economic reality," Francis Paonessa, President of the Passenger Division for the UK, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We regret this outcome but without new orders we cannot maintain the current level of employment and activity at Derby."
Bombardier -- the only remaining train builder in Britain -- said all its contracts, except for cars for some London Underground lines, would be complete by the end of September.
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In June Britain awarded a consortium led by Siemens a contract to build and maintain 1,200 train carriages for London's Thameslink commuter overground rail service as part of a 6 billion pound ($9.6 billion) upgrade of the line, which links Brighton on the south coast to commuter towns north of London.[nLDE75F0QA]
Siemens said when the government's decision was announced that up to 600 jobs in manufacturing train components, including up to 300 at its factory in South Tyneside, northeast England, would be created as a direct result of it winning the work.
Unite the union, however, said the vast majority of manufacturing work by the Siemens-led consortium would be done in Germany, and it called on the government to act swiftly and decisively to save Britain's last train manufacturer.
"It is a tragedy because these redundancies would have been needless if the government really cared about British manufacturing and British skills," Unite's general secretary, Len McCluskey, said in a statement.
The GMB union, which represents metal fabrication workers, and the TSSA rail union also called on the government to reverse the decision.
"We have to maintain the capacity in the UK to make railway equipment," GMB regional officer Tye Nosakhere said.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)