Belfast Telegraph

Staff fear as Bombardier sheds 390 Belfast jobs

By Amanda Ferguson

Bombardier workers face an anxious wait to find out if they still have a job after the plane manufacturer announced it is cutting almost 400 posts.

The Unite union has warned the decision to shed 390 of its 6,000 Belfast jobs will hit Northern Ireland's economy hard.

The union which organises the overwhelming majority of workers in the company – one of the biggest employers in Northern Ireland – has described the scale of the losses as a serious blow.

Bombardier is a Canadian-headquartered firm and produces wings and other parts in Belfast.

The firm will be ending 300 temporary and contract jobs and is seeking 90 redundancies from its permanent workforce.

Around 5,000 permanent employees and approximately 1,000 temporary and contract staff work at the east Belfast base.

Across its global operations, around 1,800 posts are expected to go as part of a major restructuring, the firm has said previously.

The Belfast Telegraph yesterday spoke to a number of employees emerging from the plant after the grim news was broken, although none wanted to be identified.

One veteran employee said: "I've been 35 years in Shorts (Bombardier) and we have been through this before – what will be will be. At my age I'm not so concerned but I feel sorry for the young ones with mortgages."

Another Bombardier employee of 14 years said: "The temporary workers are all worried about it. They're not sure what criteria the agency that employs them will use."

Jackie Pollock, regional industrial officer for Unite, pointed to the need for Stormont politicians to take the initiative.

"We are very disappointed by the scale of job losses associated with this announcement although they represent only a proportion of the 1,800 jobs that Bombardier plan to shed globally," he said.

"Unite is committed to securing the very best possible terms for all our members that are affected by this decision.

"There's a need for Stormont politicians to take action to improve job security protections for workers."

Alliance Party East Belfast MP Naomi Long said her party colleague, DEL Minister Stephen Farry, would be contacting Bombardier to offer "guidance and assistance".

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"Such a significant number of redundancies can also have wider effects on the local economy which are harder to predict.

"While it will bring no comfort to those who will lose their jobs at Bombardier, the local management hope it will stabilise the workforce in the medium term."

East Belfast MP Naomi Long

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