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Tory council backs Bombardier fight

A Tory-led council wants to fund a trade union legal fight against the Government's decision to award a lucrative train-building contract to a German firm.

Councillors in Derby will vote next week on whether to financially back any judicial review proceedings launched by Unite in a bid to have the decision overturned.

Derby-based manufacturer Bombardier has announced 1,400 redundancies as a result of losing out to rival Siemens in the contest to supply rolling stock for the Thameslink route.

The firm's chairman told MPs that he is "struggling to understand" the decision, which unions said could eventually lead to thousands more UK jobs being lost.

Colin Walton expressed his frustration at a specially-convened Commons committee meeting, as a large delegation of supporters converged on Westminster to demand a rethink.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond defended the process and said starting from scratch would take two to three years and cause unacceptable disruption to rail services.

The Prime Minister has accepted his call for a review of how other European countries grant more work to domestic firms, he said, but it is too late to revisit Thameslink.

But a motion jointly tabled by Derby council leader Philip Hickson and his Labour counterpart directly criticises Mr Cameron over the "fundamentally flawed and perverse" decision.

It expresses "concern and alarm (at) both the Prime Minister's and the Government's continued refusal to reconsider" and commits the council to working with Unite.

Financial support would be dependent on council lawyers agreeing Unite has "an arguable case".

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