5 April 2020

The Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Richard Leonard, is calling on the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, to act now to save the Wabtec rail works in Kilmarnock after a letter from the Group Managing Director of Wabtec has revealed broken promises of help from the Scottish Government.

The letter, from Group Managing Director of Wabtec Andy Derbyshire to Richard Leonard, tells of a meeting in December 2019 between Mr. Derbyshire and Michael Matheson at which Mr. Derbyshire outlined the challenges facing the Wabtec site in Kilmarnock.

According to Mr. Derbyshire, at this meeting Michael Matheson offered his support and ordered his officials to find more work to give to the Wabtec works in Kilmarnock.

Despite the offer of help from Mr. Matheson, he and his department failed and no new work was forthcoming.

The Wabtec works now face closure with the potential of around 100 job losses.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said:

“If Mr. Derbyshire’s account of events is correct, then Michael Matheson has big questions to answer over how he and his department failed to take action to save Wabtec despite knowledge of the dire financial situation the rail works were in.

“The prospect of Wabtec shutting the rail works in Kilmarnock, at the cost of around 100 jobs, will have dire consequences for the workers left unemployed and the local economy, particularly in this time of national crisis.

“Scottish Labour believes that the Wabtec works in Kilmarnock are a crucial component in Scotland’s manufacturing base.

“Today I am calling on Michael Matheson to get his finger out and investigate all options available to keep the site running, and that must include bringing it into public ownership.”

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