Trade union plea to Stormont as Harland & Wolff cuts 60 jobs
Trade unions have called for Stormont to intervene after it was revealed that 60 jobs are to be axed at Harland & Wolff.
The job cuts are being blamed on the fall in the price of oil, which has caused a downturn in the offshore oil, gas and renewables sector.
Union representatives have called for ministerial intervention to ensure skills are retained
Michael Mulholland, regional organiser for the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering, said: "The announcement by Harland and Wolff that they will be seeking up to 60 redundancies reflects the recent decline in the company's order books.
"This is the latest bad news story for manufacturing and follows hot on the heels of a large-scale redundancy announcement at Bombardier. Management will attempt to achieve this reduction through seeking volunteers among the workforce in the first instance.
"Both the GMB and Unite will engage fully with the employer to minimise the impact on our members and will work together to offer necessary employment support and advice services to affected members.
"Our unions are seeking assurances from the Department of Enterprise and Department of Education and Learning ministers that they will mandate relevant agencies to put in place a package for those affected, perhaps involving upskilling, which will mean that these skilled workers are available for the company, as and when they expand their workforce with an improving order book."
Last night, a company spokesman confirmed the firm was in talks with the unions about the loss of 60 posts.
The jobs lost will come from all levels of the company, including management,
Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: "It is regrettable Harland and Wolff have had to make the announcement to consult on potential redundancies.
"I can assure everyone that Invest Northern Ireland will continue to work closely with the management team in Belfast and assist the company where possible to sustain employment and strengthen its competitive position within the global marketplace."
The number of jobs that Bombardier announced would go last month