Belfast Telegraph

Another Wright family firm was offering bus jobs on day 1,200 Wrightbus staff made redundant

Jeff Wright and (right) the advert seeking staff for another of the family’s bus companies
Jeff Wright and (right) the advert seeking staff for another of the family’s bus companies
Jeff Wright
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Jobs were advertised at another Wright family bus company, with lower wages, on the day Wrightbus went into administration.

Nu-Track, which makes specialist vehicles including buses for wheelchair users, appeared to advertise online on Wednesday for an unspecified number of new workers through a recruitment agency, Industrial Temps in Ballymena.

It was the same day that 1,200 workers were made redundant at Wrightbus.

Last night Wrightbus shareholder Jeff Wright - who is also a shareholder in Nu-Track - distanced himself from the advert.

A spokesperson for Mr Wright and his family said it had been posted without authorisation.

According to the advert, workers at Nu-Track in Ballymena, which is not affected by the administration process, were being sought for 40 hours a week on a rate of pay of £8.50 to £9.50 an hour, believed to be the same rate paid to agency workers in Wrightbus.

Time-served coachbuilders at Wrightbus were paid £10.50 an hour, with a maximum rate of around £14 an hour for the role.  

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The job duties at Nu-Track are described as “helping to assist on building buses, fitting interior work/floors in buses, working in a busy environment, working as part of a team”.

Jeff Wright

The hours are Monday to Thursday, 7.15am to 5.30pm, with Friday overtime at a rate of ‘time and a half’.  However, the job advert had been removed from the Job Centre Online website by Friday of last week.

A spokeswoman for Jeff Wright and the Wright family said the job ad was posted without its authorisation and denied that the company was seeking shopfloor staff. 

“Nu-Track put out ads for around five staff posts four to five weeks ago as a number of vacancies arose,” they said.

“All job positions are now closed and interviews ongoing/completed or positions have been filled. There are no current vacancies.

“(The) Agency posted on their social media about positions available without permission of Nu-Track management. There are no shop floor positions at present within Nu-Track.”

Industrial Temps did not respond to a request for comment.

The Wright family spokeswoman said there were no plans for Nu-Track to bid to carry out Wrightbus-related work — even if that were to be possible during the administration process.

“Nu-Track is in the accessible vehicles industry which is different from the public service vehicle (PSV) industry,” the spokeswoman said.

She said there was “no truth” in speculation that Nu-Track would seek to buy over assets of the company that are likely to be put on the market by the administrators as the process takes hold.

A source said dismissed staff were likely to apply for agency roles, regardless of whether rates of pay were lower or not. 

“These people are now jobless. They’re desperate to provide for their families. Regardless of what the applicants think, it would be a job and income.” 

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of industry body Manufacturing NI, said the skills of Wrightbus workers would be transferable in theory. 

But he said that the manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland was not in buoyant shape which could make the job search more difficult. 

“A welder is a welder, whether it’s a bit of bus or a bit of machinery... People still are in the market for good quality skilled people but the challenge is that things are undoubtedly beginning to slow down in the manufacturing sector so demand for skilled labour is cooling. 

“But if this had happened a year ago, people would have had no bother getting work.”

Belfast Telegraph