Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Globalisation In One Country

"In a blow to the government's plans for Britain to manufacture its way out of recession, Bombardier has placed its UK operations under review after the Department for Transport awarded a contract to make carriages on London's Thameslink rail route to Siemens of Germany, bypassing Britain's last remaining train factory. The company has called an 8am press briefing on Tuesday morning at its Derby headquarters. Senior shop stewards will be briefed on job losses in time for the end of the night shift at 6am."

I have not done the digging, but I would be amazed if the vast majority of French rolling stock was not manufactured in France, and the vast majority of German stock in Germany. (Strangely enough, railway nerdism doesn't translate into Web nerdism very well, although there are sites like this.) Only this morning someone on the Today prog was explaining how European governments can take 'other factors' into account, industrial strategy etc, when State enterprises hand out contracts. Not here.

Labour will doubtless be bashing the Tories over this, but this is just the continuation of existing policy. No government's put the British people first since 1992 (if that) - why expect Cameron to buck the trend ?


Anonymous said...

The bidding process for the Thameslink trains was started 3 or 4 years ago under the previous government - all that has happened today is that the current government have opened the envelope and declared a winner.

However, Bombardier have been announcing job losses year on year since 2004.

Anonymous said...

Lovely isn't it. The logic of the capitalist system is such that loyalty plays no part. No loyalty to your own people. The idea is that self interest is better. Yea, it is if you benefit. Also, if the existing population cannot or will not do the system's bidding it will import people from abroad to do it. It used to be the Irish. Vampire economics - yes you heard it here first. This means that the country can go to hell as long as the decision makers and bankers are insulated. It doesn't have to really educate people as it can import what it needs.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It'll turn out to be a result of an EU procurement directive, you see if it doesn't.

Of course your point still stands - France, Germany, and Italy ignore those, too.

Edwin Greenwood said...

'Twas BT's decision not to give them a slice of the 21CN next-generation network project that effectively did for GEC-Marconi as an independent telecommunications manufacturer. I'm out of touch with that business but I'd guess that what's left probably functions as little more that the UK sales and service operation of Ericsson.

Bombardier Derby will go probably much the same way, doing the odd bit of maintenance and refurb work on imported trains.

The main problem with the British approach is not that* / not just that* (*delete according to preferred economic prejudice) we adhere to the globalized capitalist model, but that we actually follow the damned rules, whereas everybody else pays lip service but bends the rules to suit their national interest.

monoi said...

Its funny how nobody mentions the simple fact that maybe, just maybe, Bombardier could not compete with Siemens because it was simply not good enough.

Because if you take that road, why have you left British Leyland fail for example? Who was buying all those foreign cars if not the same people who come here and come out with the same "we're the victims" and "we're the only ones following the rules" BS? At least, in BL's case, it was not the government that decided, but the british people.

Here, it is paid out of our taxes so I really cannot see why we should be made to pay more for an inferior product.

You produce something inferior, that is what happens. So the obvious solutions such as improving the product or lowering the cost of work through lower taxes or regulation or whatever are not considered.

What a pathetic whine.

Notwithstanding the fact that Bombardier is not even british. How's that for irony?

paul ilc said...

As Bombardier shrinks, Hitachi is preparing to open a train-manufacturing plant in the UK...

That said, Bombardier's shrinkage is bad news for Derby; and so IF the difference between Bombardier's bid and Siemens' was marginal, I think it would be reasonable to take the social costs into account. However, we don't want to return to a situation where civil servants picked winners and governments propped up lame ducks.

Gallovidian said...

Mr Powell said that there are traitors in high places in this country, it was true then and it is true now.

Anonymous said...

EURef says it: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/07/say-no-more.html

Anonymous said...

Bombardier is a German owned company anyway, though its name derives from a Canadian company.

Until quite recemtly foreign built locos and rolling stock were rarities in Britain. From the very dawn of railways until a few years ago.

A few US locos bought as miltary surplus after WW2 were probably the largest block of foreign locos used in the UK - ever!

That is until BR had part of the class 56 fleet built in Romania.

Even that was still regarded as a bit of a one off. The real rot set in from privatisation onwards with locos and coaches increasingly bought from abroad.

Anonymous said...

Here, it is paid out of our taxes so I really cannot see why we should be made to pay more for an inferior product.

Leaving the enduring mysetry of how the Germans, French, Japanese can be partisan and somehow get quality as well and we cant.

Anonymous said...

Funny how money always seems available to prop up our lame duck banking system though, isn't it?

James G. said...

Germans, French, Japanese can be partisan and somehow get quality as well and we cant.

Could be because their unions see/saw themselves as part of the social contract and less likely to cut of their noses to spite their faces (or to please their Soviet masters?)

In both the US and UK, I would posit that unions had a lot to do with resistance to improvements in quality in post-1960s manufacturing, whereas their Japanese, French and German counterparts were active participants in improved quality.