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Editor in personal plea to save thousands of local jobs

A regional daily editor is to make a personal plea to the boss of a train manufacturing company in a bid to save thousands of  jobs on his newspaper’s patch.

Ministers recently delivered an economic body-blow by awarding a £1.4bn contract to build new rail carriages for the Thameslink service to the German company Siemens ahead of Derby trainmaker Bombardier.

Since then, Bombardier has announced a review of its entire operations in the UK, threatening 3,000 jobs at the Derby plant and a further 5,000 in the supply chain.

Now Steve Hall, editor of the Derby Telegraph, is to travel to Berlin tomorrow to hand-deliver a letter to Stephane Rambaud-Measson, president of Bombardier Transportation’s Passengers Division.

Steve will join a five-man delegation to the German capital seeking to persuade Bombardier bosses that the 170-year-old Derby plant has a future.

The text of the letter, highlighting the “expertise, loyalty and flexibility” of the Derby workforce has also been published on the front page of today’s Telegraph.

Today's Telegraph front page featuring Steve's open letter

Said Steve:  “Our visit will help us learn what would be required for Bombardier to retain its operations in this country.

“We hope to convince them that there is much still in its favour, including a hugely skilled and flexible workforce, and a number of upcoming major UK rail contracts over the next 10 years.”

The letter and visit to Berlin are part of a wider campaign being waged by the newspaper to try to overturn what Steve describes as an “outrageous” decision by the government.

News of the decision to award the contract to the Germans was originally broken by the Telegraph’s political correspondent, Joseph Watts.

Since then the paper has gained an admission from the government that, although it described the Siemens deal as best value for the taxpayer, it had not assessed the economic impact of any job losses that might follow in Derby.

More than 3,000 people have already signed a petition against the decision, hundreds more have joined a Facebook protest site, while a mass rally of workers and their families is planned.

Added Steve:  “We feel that the contract decision is an outrage, coming just weeks after David Cameron held a meeting of his Cabinet in Derby and hailed the city – and its engineering expertise – as a shining example of how the UK economy could be rebuilt.

“The threat to Bombardier is just one of a series of bombshell announcements to hit Derby in recent weeks – with the Royal Mail to axe 400 jobs, Barclaycard 650, and the city council 500.

“The Bombardier position is the hardest to accept because it is our own Government hammering a nail into the company’s coffin.

“Ministers have attempted to hide behind EU law and a need to observe fair tendering procedures as justification for their decision but privately admit that every other European state gives its own contracts to home companies and that, in future, the UK needs to do the same.”

The Telegraph's front page earlier this month after the Thameslink decision was announced


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  • June 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Well done Edward Heath. UK de-industrialisation is closely connected with Britain’s EU membership and the imposition of the Single European Market rules agreed by Thatcher and Major.
    Gordon Brown was rubbish as PM but at leat he kept us out of the euro!

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  • July 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Looks like a rehash of the open letter The Sentinel wrote to David Cameron on his “historic” visit to Stoke-on-Trent.

    Is there anything in Northcliffe done without a template these days?

    The poster page at the bottom is striking but looks like a nostalgia supplement.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    This story has far reaching implications as one of Bombardier’s suppliers also has to shed jobs among its workforce. 17 jobs go at a specialist electronics company in Whitstable as a result of Siemens getting the job. Different from Derby’s situation I know but nonetheless a blow for all those on the wrong end of a P45.

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