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Blog Post By Genevieve Lewis

De La Rue to challenge contract decision

De La Rue has announced that it will contest the decision that saw Franco-Dutch rivals Gemalto win the contract to print the new British passports. It has also been announced that the firm has now been given more time for the bidding process, and a decision will be made on Tuesday April 17th.

The British security printer had originally lost the contract, worth £490m, but the Government faced backlash over the decision, including a petition set up by the Daily Mail that gained over 266,000 signatures, and De La Rue had made it clear it was unhappy with the choice.

Following the announcement that De La Rue will challenge the decision, Unite, the country’s largest union, represents thousands of members in the printing and paper industry, and stated the importance of protecting jobs. Louisa Bull, Unite national officer, comments: “Unite strongly supports De La Rue’s legal challenge on the grounds of jobs and protecting communities.

“There is also the issue of national security. Our current passports are technically secure to a high standard and need to remain so, when concerns about national security continue to be a priority.”

De La Rue makes a quality product and has held the contract for producing UK passports since 2009 without a hitch

The union also argues that there are roughly 200 jobs at risk, despite Gemalto having print sites in Hampshire and Lancashire in the UK. Unite argues that these sites are not expected to print the new blue passport, but the majority of the work will actually be undertaken in France.

The British Print Industries Federation (BPIF) also voiced its concern over the awarding of the contract to Gemalto, with chief executive Charles Jarrold commenting: “This is a disappointing and questionable decision from the government.” The BPIF was also encouraging members of the industry to sign the petition that was launched by the Daily Mail.

Gemalto already prints the British driving license, which changed to card form and replaced the paper driving license in 1998. Gemalto has been printing the driving license since 2013.

Bull continues: “De La Rue makes a quality product and has held the contract for producing UK passports since 2009 without a hitch. We are also concerned about media reports that Gemalto won the contract by simply undercutting its rivals, which if true, smacks of unfair competition—the government should investigate these claims urgently.”

De La Rue will now formally appeal to the High Court, with Unite believing that the apparent 70 jobs created in the UK by the awarding of the contract to Gemalto is not enough.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@printmonthly.co.uk

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