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25 July 2012
Unite, Britain's biggest union, has welcomed the government's rubber stamp of approval to proceed with a £4.5 billion contract for intercity trains, but Labour should take the real credit as the deal to create the 900 jobs was all but signed sealed and delivered under the last government.
Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the project to replace Britain's Intercity 125 trains.
The trains will be assembled at a new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, creating 730 skilled jobs with a further 200 jobs during construction of the factory. The contract will also secure thousands more in the UK supply chain.
Unite national officer, Julia Long said:
"Clearly the confirmation of new jobs in an area suffering from high unemployment is good news but the credit should go to Labour not the Tories. This deal to create these jobs was all but signed sealed and delivered under the last government. We welcome the decision to give the final all clear, but it comes after delays to the contract by well over three and a half years."
Trains will enter service from 2017 on the Great Western main line and 2018 on the East Coast main line. Unite is the union for rail manufacturing and has recognition at Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe.