Canadian train maker Bombardier is cutting more than 1,400 jobs – nearly half the workforce – at its plant in Derby, in central England.
The lay-offs come after Bombardier lost out to German group Siemens to supply trains for the Thameslink cross-London railway.
Unions have called on the government to review the contract awarded to Siemens and save Britain’s last rolling stock manufacturer.
Bombardier will cut 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary jobs from its 3,000 strong Derby workforce.
The cutbacks are as a result of missing out on the Thameslink contract and as work dries up after the completion of its current contract, which includes building carriages 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 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 six billion pound (6.7 billion euros) upgrade of the line, which links Brighton on the south coast to commuter towns north of London.
Union Unite called on the government to act swiftly and decisively to save Britain’s last train manufacturer.
Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “It is a tragedy because these redundancies would have been needless if the government really cared about British manufacturing and British skills.”
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.