2 April 2020

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, must inspect tender documents to ensure the rail engineering firm Wabtec is not breaching contract conditions in proposing to close its Kilmarnock works, Richard Leonard has said.

In a letter to the Transport Secretary, the Scottish Labour leader asked if the contracts for refurbishment of HST Mark 3 carriages and Class 170 Diesel Multiple Units included “any conditions placed on the company about the amount of work that has to be done in Scotland”.

In his letter protesting the closure plan, Mr Leonard said: “The company has chosen – exactly one week after sending a letter to its workers to tell them they were key workers, vital to the connectivity of the Scottish economy – to announce plans to make its 100-strong workforce at the site redundant.

“It is of the utmost importance that the Government and its agencies work with the company to ensure their skills are retained. If the company are allowed to close this site, the Government must act with urgency to produce a strategy to retain these jobs.”

Mr Leonard, who campaigned to save the St Rollox railway works at Springburn – popularly known as the “Caley” - last year, has warned that closure could mean some workers will be laid off twice in quick succession.

He added: "SNP ministers used the continued operation of Wabtec at Kilmarnock as part of a series of excuses to justify their failure to step in and save the Caley. They hailed the offer of up to 100 jobs at Kilmarnock for former Caley workers.

"Scottish Labour will fight tooth and nail to save these jobs and this vital facility. We hope MSPs and campaigners from across the political spectrum and the public realm will join us in standing with the workers at Kilmarnock."
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