Rail: lacking visibility, Alstom could cut hundreds of jobs in the United Kingdom

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Weighed down by commercial and financial difficulties, the railway group Alstom is considering hundreds of layoffs in the United Kingdom. Also, the French industrialist is facing stalled negotiations with the British government on orders and calls for tenders, reports the Daily Telegraph on Thursday.

These job cuts, according to the British daily, should be announced in the Derby factory, the largest for the manufacture of trains in the United Kingdom and where 3,000 people work, after the end of the works in progress and given the absence prospects for additional orders.

Questioned by AFP, Alstom indicated that “there was no decision taken” on a closure of the Derby site. Discussions, which began several months ago with the British government, are “still ongoing”, indicated a spokesperson, who refers to a “gap in the workload” for the coming years.

A reduction in the route of the high-speed line, HS2

Downing Street recently announced a reduction in the route of the vast HS2 high-speed line project. The first major line built north of London in 150 years, the second high-speed line in the United Kingdom after that taken by the Eurostar to the Channel Tunnel (HS1), in the south-east of the country, HS2 was to originally connecting the British capital to Birmingham then to Manchester and Leeds. “What we really need is better transport links in the north” and this “will be our priority” insisted last October the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a speech at the annual congress of the Conservative Party.

In addition, the launch of a call for tenders from the British government for Aventra commuter trains is also dragging on. The government “remains in close contact with Alstom to ensure a future for railway construction in Derby,” commented a spokesperson for the Department of Transport, contacted by AFP.

Creating connections between England and Wales

Furthermore, Alstom announced in mid-March that it intended to operate its own passenger train service in England and Wales from 2025. Alstom’s objective is to “create a direct connection, which does not exist today.” today, between North Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and London,” a statement said. “WSMR is scheduled to be commissioned as early as 2025 and is expected to create around 50 new jobs, mainly in North Wales and the Midlands. »

“We have been part of the British railway fabric for two centuries and we are delighted to enter this new era as a private operator,” commented Nick Crossfield, Alstom Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, cited in the press release. “This new transport offer will allow the territories of North Wales and the Midlands to benefit from better connections, in particular direct trains to London from Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrexham,” declared the British Minister for Railways. iron, Huw Merriman.

At the beginning of March, Alstom was ejected from the CAC 40 in favor of Accor. Since the 5.5 billion euro takeover of the Canadian Bombardier Transport announced in January 2021, “which placed a heavy debt on the shoulders of Alstom”, underlined Lionel Melka, partner at Swann Capital, the market capitalization of the industrial sector has fallen by more than 65%, going from 13.2 billion euros to around 4.5 billion currently. The last significant event for Alstom on the stock market dates back to October 2023, when the group saw more than 3 billion euros of market capitalization evaporate in the space of one session, with the dizzying fall of more than 37 % of its share price.

The former general manager of Safran, Philippe Petitcolin, is due to take up his duties as chairman of the board of directors of the railway group in June.

This article is originally published on latribune.fr

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