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400 face the axe in a dark day for jobs

By Lisa Smyth

Published 08/08/2009

The local economy has been dealt a series of severe blows during a black Friday for job losses in the province.

Up to 88 jobs are to go at Kilkeel-based BE Aerospace (UK) Ltd after management proposed slashing its workforce from 651 employees to 563 with the loss of 88 jobs.

The news came just hours after Central Group Services, established in 1994 and based in the Dee Street area of Belfast, closed with the loss of around 50 jobs.

Both companies have blamed the current economic downturn for the redundancies.

Managing director of BE Aerospace Sean Cromie said the proposed cuts were “very unfortunate” but “necessary to maintain our competitive position in the market”.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Central Group Services said: “Every action was taken by directors to mitigate this action in an attempt to preserve the employment of all staff.”

And in a shock move, it emerged yesterday that Ulster Bank, which has 92 branches in Northern Ireland, is to axe 250 more jobs after announcing losses of £8m for the first half of 2009.

Ulster Bank has already saved £11m in staff costs in the first half of this year.

It shed 200 jobs in Northern Ireland through its voluntary severance scheme and a further 500 in the Republic.

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