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Bombardier axing more than 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

Published 17/02/2016

Bombardier's CSeries jet
Bombardier's CSeries jet

Bombardier is cutting more than 1,000 jobs across Northern Ireland, including 580 this year.

The plane maker, which employs over 5,000 staff here, announced the job losses on Wednesday morning.

Have you been affected or do you work at Bombardier? Contact us here.

A spokesman said: "Bombardier Inc announced today that it is taking steps to optimise its workforce in 2016 and 2017.  In line with this, we have reviewed our requirements in Belfast and regret to confirm that we must adjust our workforce levels downwards by around 580 this year.  In addition, we expect to have a further potential reduction of some 500 next year.

"Around 200 Bombardier employee jobs in Northern Ireland are currently at risk of redundancy.  The company will be lodging a formal HR1 redundancy notice with the Department for Employment and Learning, following which there will be a 90-day consultation period when we will explore opportunities to mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies.

"In addition, around 380 members of our Complementary Labour Force (CLF) and other agency workers are being released from their assignments with the company in 2016.  This includes 60 CLF who already left the company in January.

"We deeply regret the impact this will have on our workforce and their families, but it is crucial that we right-size our business in line with market realities.

"We will continue to evaluate all opportunities to significantly reduce our costs, improve our competitiveness, and boost our profitability, whilst focusing on the unique capabilities that will help shape and secure our future."

Reaction: Devastating blow as Canadian-owned aerospace giant Bombardier cuts 1,080 jobs in Northern Ireland  

STRUGGLE

The Canadian-owned aerospace giant is cutting around 7,000 jobs across its operations globally.

The aerospace giant, which employs more than 5,000 people in Northern Ireland, is struggling to find buyers for its long-delayed CSeries jets.

The wings and many of the fuselages of the planes are built in Northern Ireland.

Last year the company received a $1bn (£660m) bailout from the Quebec regional government.

The production of wings for the CSeries is Northern Ireland's biggest-ever inward investment programme, worth £520m.

In today's announcement, the company revealed it had secured another 75 orders for its CS300 planes, from Air Canada.

That would bring the total orders so far to 318.

REACTION

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell and Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry have expressed their regret at today’s announcement.

Jonathan Bell said: “The impact of this decision will be hard felt in Northern Ireland, in particular by those personally affected. First and foremost, my thoughts are with the workers and their families as they absorb today’s news.

“The company has taken this decision to rationalise its workforce across all its sites in order to ensure its viability for the future.

“Between 2002 and 2015, Invest NI offered £75m of assistance to Bombardier, including £21m for the CSeries, in support of investment commitments totalling £844.5m. While Bombardier has said there is nothing we can do to reverse this decision, we will continue to work closely with the company and to explore other ways to support their drive for greater efficiencies.

“While today’s news is deeply disappointing, Bombardier Inc has made it clear that the decision has been taken to safeguard the company’s long term future globally and here in Northern Ireland.

“I want to assure the affected staff that, together with Invest NI, the Department for Employment and Learning, and colleagues in the entire Northern Ireland Executive, we will do all that is possible to limit the impact of the redundancies and help with possible retraining.”

"The company has reaffirmed its commitment to the CSeries project and Belfast’s critical role in its delivery. Confirmation today that Air Canada has signed up for 75 CS300 aircraft is a positive development for the CSeries project as a whole and I hope that in the long term as more orders are received, that we will see employment levels increase once again.”

Davy Thompson of the Unite union said the job loss announcement "is the latest, cruel blow to Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector".

"While the scale of the losses reflect the severe market conditions being experienced by the group which has led to over seven thousand job losses globally, heavy manufacturers across the region continue to face challenging times.

"The Northern Ireland Executive needs to redouble their efforts and secure alternative employment for those highly skilled workers who will be made redundant. Invest NI must now commit themselves fully to proactively seeking foreign investment in manufacturing.

"We are calling for all parties to publicly support the call for a Manufacturing Strategy and establish an Investment Taskforce for the sector bringing together all stakeholders, including Unite.

"Unite will continue to liaise with Bombardier management to secure jobs in Belfast and defend our members’ terms and conditions during this difficult period."

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “The job losses announced today by Bombardier are extremely regrettable, not only for those who have lost their jobs, but also for the families, communities and the economy as a whole.

“My department will be proactive in determining what steps we can take to assist employees facing redundancy to provide them with advice and guidance regarding re-skilling, training and alternative employment opportunities. Officials will work closely with all those involved to ensure that the best advice, help and support are offered to all those affected employees at the appropriate time.

"My department will also be offering redundancy clinics to the company and their employees. The Redundancy Advice Service works in partnership with a range of agencies including the Further Education Colleges and HMRC to provide advice and support on a range of issues.”

And Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, which has invested more than £70m in Bombardier, said "we have listened to the company’s reasoning for this difficult decision and, while it is hard to hear, we understand why it has had to make this choice".

Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest Northern Ireland has expressed his disappointment at today’s news that Bombardier Inc intends to reduce its workforce in Northern Ireland.

"Today’s news will be very upsetting to those working for the company, and their families," he said.

"We will work closely with the Department for Employment and Learning to provide whatever support possible to help those that will be affected by the job losses, be that through redeployment into other companies, retraining or exploring the possibility of setting up their own business.

"While we were fully aware that Bombardier intended to make cost reductions across its global business, the news of 7,000 jobs, 1,080 in Northern Ireland, is much greater than anticipated.

"While Bombardier feels this ‘right-sizing’ is essential for the business market as it stands today, its announcement of a new order of 75 CS300 aircraft by Air Canada is a positive development and I have every confidence that its commitment to the CSeries project will see the company’s presence in Belfast rebuild for the future."

COMPANY WIDE

In today's trading update, Bombardier's Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive said:

"We are turning Bombardier around to make this great company stronger and more competitive.

"Over the past year, we renewed our leadership team and developed a clear plan to significantly improve our performance. We de-risked major development programs and stabilized the company, securing our liquidity position and taking a series of actions to rebuild margins.

"With the certification of the CS100 aircraft, we also reached the last key milestone before the entry-into-service of the C Series, while ramping up to full production. And today, with the signing of Air Canada for the leading-edge CS300 aircraft, we add a major international airline customer based in North America to complement our orders in both Europe and Asia. Air Canada’s commitment is a strong endorsement of this outstanding aircraft.

"It will create significant value for Air Canada and its customers and will become a catalyst for future orders in North America and around the world."

RESPONSE

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month, Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said he had "been given nothing to indicate more job losses" at the company.

"We have thrown our weight behind Bombardier. I'm aware there are major challenges and I have been informed that the company has to make percentage reductions, and they're in negotiations with their unions as to how they can achieve those," he said.

"We will do all in our power to support their core workforce of around 5,000 people. I have been given nothing to indicate more job losses."

 

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