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Bombardier staff to learn fate over hundreds of jobs to be cut this year

By John Mulgrew

Published 17/05/2016

One of the C Series aircraft which are made by Bombardier
One of the C Series aircraft which are made by Bombardier

Thousands of workers at Bombardier's Belfast base are expected to find out on Thursday if their jobs are among hundreds to be axed cut this year.

Bombardier is to cut 1,080 jobs from its Belfast workforce by 2017, with around 630 of those expected to go this year.

It's understood staff at the Canadian-owed firm - which among other projects produces the wings and fuselage for its flagship C Series jets - will be told on Thursday whether their jobs will be included in the cuts.

Last month, Bombardier told staff it was cutting a further 50 staff this year, bringing the job losses to 630 for 2016.

It's understood around 300 jobs have already gone across the Belfast operation. Those posts include contractors and casual workers. A letter sent to staff has broken down in detail the job losses so far.

There are 140 staff going under voluntary redundancy, with a further 155 earmarked across management, shop floor staff and other roles.

The letter states Bombardier will "continue to consult" with trade unions "on ways to further mitigate the need for compulsory redundancies". It is understood the process will end on May 18.

Bombardier received a much-needed shot in the arm in April, when it was revealed that it had secured an order to sell 75 of its CS100 jets to Delta Airlines, with the potential for a further 50 orders.

That total contract is valued at close to £4bn, with the deal worth anywhere between £300m and £400m for Bombardier's Belfast operations.

Bombardier employs around 5,000 staff here. And it has grown its team working on the C Series.

It was originally producing just the wings for both the CS100 and CS300 jets. But it has grown to building the fuselages for the planes.

Bombardier said that the deal was a "watershed moment". Belfast boss Michael Ryan said it was "a further endorsement of the aircraft's excellent operating economics and environmental credentials, to which we in Belfast are contributing with the production of the advanced composite wings."

Last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the workforce here had made between 15 and 20 fuselage mid-sections for the aircraft after work was transferred here from the company's manufacturing partner in China.

Bombardier's chief executive Alain Bellemare said last week that the company is eyeing up the Chinese market in a bid to increase sales of its passenger jets.

"I would say the focus (on China) has to increase. Clearly, this is a target market for us," he told Reuters.

Belfast Telegraph

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