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Bombardier cuts hundreds of jobs

Published 14/05/2015

Bombardier is cutting 1,750 jobs at plants in Montreal, Toronto and Belfast
Bombardier is cutting 1,750 jobs at plants in Montreal, Toronto and Belfast

International aircraft manufacturer Bombardier is to axe between 220 and 280 jobs at its Belfast factory.

The losses are part of a cull of 1,750 jobs at the Canadian company's plants in Montreal, Toronto and Belfast.

The manufacturer said the move was in response to weak demand for its Global 5000 and Global 6000 business jets.

Bombardier announced that up to 280 jobs will go on production lines in Belfast, but expressed hope that some of those could be transferred to other projects.

It is understood around 60 posts could potentially be retained through redeployment.

The company said the losses in Belfast would primarily impact temporary and agency staff and insisted it would look at all opportunities to avoid compulsory redundancies from the core permanent workforce.

Bombardier currently has a workforce of around 5,700 in Belfast.

Around 4,900 of those are Bombardier employees, with 700 making up its "complementary labour force" and under 100 temporary and agency staff.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier in Belfast said the "unfortunate" job losses were in line with customer demand for the jets.

"Up to 280 of our workforce will be impacted, but we plan to mitigate this number through a range of measures, including transfers to other programmes and projects," she said.

"The majority of those affected will be members of our complementary labour force and other temporary and agency staff who work alongside our employees.

"A small number of Bombardier employees will also be affected, but we will look at all opportunities to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies within our permanent workforce.

"We deeply regret the impact this will have on all those affected and their families.

"Bombardier remains committed to the Global 5000 and Global 6000 products, and its long-term outlook for the business aircraft market, as well as the industry's, remains strong."

The Unite union said it was "very disappointed" by the announcement, adding that it was working with management to avoid compulsory redundancies to the core workforce.

The union also called on the Northern Ireland Executive to take action to defend the region's "beleaguered" manufacturing sector.

Davy Thompson, regional co-ordinating officer with responsibility for the Bombardier workforce, said: "We are very disappointed by the scale of job losses associated with this announcement, although they represent only a proportion of the 1,750 jobs that Bombardier plan to shed globally.

"The job losses are part of a restructuring in response to the downturn in the luxury jet market.

"The job losses are likely to be concentrated in the 'complementary labour force' although the scale will mean that some core staff may be affected. Management have indicated that they intend to ensure that job losses to core staff are delivered through our social pact to avoid compulsory redundancies.

"Unite will liaise with the employer to ensure the best possible outcome for all our members.

"This announcement highlights the inadequacy of existing employment protection, in particular for that afforded to agency workers who are making up more and more of the overall Northern Ireland labour force. There's a need for Stormont politicians to take action to improve worker protections.

"We are also aware that there is a lack of support for retraining and redeployment within large manufacturing businesses like Bombardier. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"The job losses associated with this announcement are the latest in a series of blows to the NI manufacturing base, culminating in more than 2,000 jobs being lost."

He said Unite would seek a meeting with newly appointed Stormont Economy Minister Jonathan Bell to discuss the situation.

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