CREWE suffered a further economic blow this week with the announcement that the town’s railway works is to slash scores of jobs.

Bombardier Transportation UK has announced further redundancies at Crewe - 75 from the shop floor and 11 office staff.

A 30-day consultation period began at the West Street train maintenance plant this week.

The loss amounts to almost a fifth of the site’s current workforce.

Shocked workers were given the news at a briefing on Friday morning and bosses have blamed the decision on a decline in orders.

The jobs cut is the second at the site in less than six months. In December, it made 45 redundancies, 32 of them compulsory.

Spokesman Neil Harvey said the company would work together with employees and union representatives to try to mitigate the situation.

He said: “The reason for this decision is a reduction in the workload at Crewe.

“This is partly because trains which are built now are much more reliable and need much less overhaul and maintenance, but also because we did not win some of the contracts we were bidding on.

“There just isn't the workload there to sustain these 86 people.

"And the bottom line is that in order to make successful bids we have to be as competitive as possible.

“We may be able to redeploy some staff to the site in Derby and we are looking at that.

“In addition, we may get volunteers for redundancies, and those applications will be considered.”

Works convenor Mick Roberts said: "We have known for some time that there has been a fall off in work.

"The problem is that we are not competitive when we are tendering for work.

"It is down to a combination of factors that perhaps we should have addressed over the past few years."

Edward Timpson MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “This is the last thing I wanted to see for Bombardier.

“We were so hopeful before the Government's 'British jobs for Japanese workers' scandal a few months ago, when the Department for Transport awarded a key rail contract to Hitachi, not Bombardier.

“We remain hopeful for the outstanding contracts the Government has yet to award and I will do my bit in fighting Bombardier's corner.”

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the area, David Williams added: “I have asked the rail minister Lord Adonis to visit the site and discuss with management and trade unions what the Government can do to help the Crewe workforce and keep jobs in the town.

“The Government recently announced that Bombardier had won a £155 million contract to produce 120 carriages for an expanded East Anglia rail service, but this work will be carried out at the Derby site.

“Crewe Works needs Bombardier to win more repair and refurbishment work and I made that specific point to the minister when he visited the area a few weeks ago.

“That is why I have invited Lord Adonis to come to Crewe Works.”