Thameslink Fleet Sign Off Delayed By More Than A Year
In her final act of betrayal of the UK rail industry before heading to Northern Ireland, rail minister Theresa Villiers confirmed that the Thameslink fleet contract, now delayed for over 15 months, has been booted into the long grass again with only another vague statement that it may be signed off in the autumn.
The latest blow to British train building came as it emerged that Siemens, the preferred Thameslink bidder over Bombardier in Derby, have had to pay the Greek Government £262 million in settlement of bribery allegation around the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The Greek settlement is just the latest addition to the Siemens form sheet.
While the company was in the process of bidding for Thameslink, it was fined a record $800 million in the US and 395 million euros in Germany over bribery charges, in addition to another 201 million euros it paid out in 2007.
Siemens was barred for two years from bidding for contracts from the World Bank and, in June last year, a further potential bribery case was discovered at the firm's business unit in Kuwait.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Theresa Villiers parting shot to the UK rail industry was another kick in the teeth for Bombardier in Derby. As her and Justine Greening head for new jobs and a sunny future, thousands in Derby and the UK supply chain are left hanging by a thread through the incompetent and ignorant handling of the £1.4 billion Thameslink fleet contract.
“RMT wants urgent action from the new ministerial transport team to right the wrong of the Thameslink fiasco and to secure the future of train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world.
“Siemens track record around the globe shows that they should never have been allowed anywhere near a key British train building contract and, with the deal mired in controversy 15 months after it was announced, they should be dumped now with Bombardier in Derby allowed to get on with the job.”