Bombardier judicial review may get city council funding

Derby City Council is to vote on whether to fund a judicial review into the decision not to award Bombardier the £1.4bn Thameslink contract.

There is support from all three parties for the action, being prepared by the union Unite.

Councillors will vote on whether to contribute towards the union's legal fees at a meeting next week.

It follows a new survey by Unite suggesting 50 other British firms may shed jobs as a result of the decision.

Leader Philip Hickson said the authority decided to work with Unite after taking advice from lawyers.

"We took some advice about the possibility of a judicial review because we think that's the next legitimate step that can be pursued to challenge the Thameslink decision.

"The advice was that although the city council could launch such an action on its own as an interested party, the much stronger party is Unite as it represents directly the workers at the site.

'Entirely appropriate'

"So if the resolution is passed, it would allow us to help them financially to launch such an action, which I think is entirely appropriate as the council stands behind Bombardier and the workers there."

The first stage of the judicial review would cost Unite and the council about £12,000 but subsequent stages could cost thousands more.

The government has defended its decision to name Siemens as its preferred bidder for the contract as it offered taxpayers better value for money.

It follows a Unite survey which found that 50 British firms which supply Bombardier say they are likely to join the trainmaker in cutting jobs.

The survey asked 125 firms who supply the Derby-based company how they would be affected by the loss of the Thameslink deal.

A total of 19.2% of businesses said the move would have "a substantial negative impact on growth".

The Survation survey contacted a total of 125 firms by email and telephone.

'Devastating indictment'

Most of the firms that said lay-offs were possible were located in Derby, but other firms that expected to be affected were in Nottingham, Chesterfield, Birmingham and in other parts of England and Wales.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This powerful survey is a devastating indictment of the government's decision on Thameslink.

"From Aberdare in Wales to Cameron's own Oxfordshire constituency Witney, countless small and medium-sized companies will pay the price for this decision.

"Some companies are even having to lay-off workers now.

"As this survey shows it is not just about 3,000 skilled jobs in Derby there are thousands more which depend on Bombardier up and down the country."

A total of 40.59% of the businesses that responded said they see potential job losses if Bombardier loses the Thameslink contract.

Canadian-owned Bombardier employs 3,000 people in the city, said it was reviewing its operations.

The £6bn North-South cross-London Thameslink programme will require 1,200 new carriages.

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