By Ben Simmons

Following today's (9 February) announcement from Bombardier that its Derby plant is secure for the next three years, a leading trade union has called on the government to learn lessons from its mistakes and ensure there is not a repeat of the Thameslink fiasco.

"Bombardier's Derby workforce are highly skilled and make fantastic products,” said the Unite union’s assistant general secretary, Diana Holland. “They've had a lot to endure over the past 12 months. Now at least there is some breathing space.

"The government can not afford to repeat the mistakes it made over the Thameslink contract in future procurement decisions. We are not asking for favours, we are asking for fairness.

"The Department for Transport must now construct the bidding process for new train contracts so that UK based manufacturers can compete on a level playing field.

"The government must take the social impact of its decisions into account and keep an eye on the wider industrial strategy, which is allowed under EU rules. The government must also focus on a manufacturers' ability to build trains rather than the ability to raise cash.

"It is time to listen to the recommendations made about the Thameslink contract by the transport select committee at the end of last year. The coalition has a duty to create the right conditions to support the UK's skilled manufacturing base."

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