Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier on defensive in row over new redundancies

Anger: Susan Fitzgerald
Anger: Susan Fitzgerald
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Bombardier has responded to union demands to end compulsory redundancies within its Belfast workforce by reiterating that its needs to cut costs to ensure its long-term competitiveness.

The Canadian aerospace giant spoke out after Unite the Union said on Sunday that firm was planning up to 100 compulsory redundancies, despite a considerable number of staff being refused voluntary redundancy packages.

Bombardier stressed that the redundancies were not in addition to the 490 it announced on November 21, but rather it was now in the process of letting staff go.

"Further to the global workforce reduction announced by Bombardier in November and our subsequent review of employee requirements in Belfast, we are now making the necessary adjustments," said the aerospace manufacturer.

But Unite has accused Bombardier's global corporate management of having a "destructive approach" to the issue by ignoring the requests of some workers seeking voluntary redundancy.

Staff levels at Bombardier have hit a record low of 3,600, says the union. Unite officer Susan Fitzgerald said representations from shop stewards had been rejected and the company was initiating plans for 20 to 30 redundancies from other areas.

"The company are now raising the prospect of up to 100 additional compulsory redundancies across roles at Northern Ireland sites," she said. "It is crazy to force workers out the door when others for various reasons are looking to go - there is no basis to compulsory redundancies."

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In response, Bombardier said: "We acknowledge the impact on our workforce and their families and we continue to explore opportunities to help mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies.

"While this process is still ongoing, a significant number of Belfast employees have already accepted voluntary packages.

"However, we need to continue to cut costs and improve the efficiency of our operations to help ensure our long-term competitiveness."

Belfast Telegraph