Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier: Sting in tail as 100 staff to be laid off

By Ciaran Barnes

Around 100 workers will lose their jobs at Bombardier on Monday despite the aircraft manufacturer winning a major trade dispute in the US that will save thousands of jobs.

Union sources told Sunday Life the positions will be axed due to jobs being moved to Morocco, where labour is cheaper, and “not everyone being needed to work on the C Series parts”.

“It’s good news that the majority of jobs have been saved, but that is of little comfort to the 100 or so workers who will be made redundant on Monday,” said an insider.

Unite regional officer Susan Fitzgerald hinted at this on Saturday when she called on Bombardier to “reiterate its commitment to the Northern Ireland workforce and end the outsourcing of jobs to low-cost centres”.

The 100 job losses tainted the celebrations following a court ruling that stops the US imposing 292% duties on the import of the firm’s C Series jets to North America.

The wings for the plane are made by 1,000 workers in Belfast.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said rival manufacturer Boeing did not suffer injury from Atlanta-based Delta Airlines’ order of Bombardier’s C Series passenger jets.

The court victory has safeguarded jobs in Belfast and Newtownabbey, where the C Series wings are produced.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who raised the issue with US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said: “I welcome this decision, which is good news for British industry. Bombardier and its innovative workforce play a vital role in the Northern Ireland economy.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said it was “excellent news” and that Bombardier would continue to play a “hugely important role” in the country’s economy.

She added: “I know Bombardier workers and their families have been waiting some time for this and I wish them well as we welcome this news together.

“The UK Government has been working tirelessly to safeguard Bombardier jobs and argued from the very start this case was wholly unjustified,” she added.

DUP MP for East Belfast, Gavin Robinson, said it had been a “very difficult time” for the firm’s 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland who had “faced an uncertain future”, adding: “Bombardier’s greatest strength here in Belfast is the quality of those workers and the product they deliver.”

Union leaders reacted with jubilation to the news but urged Bombardier to reiterate its commitment to protecting Northern Irish jobs.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland and throughout the supply chain in the UK will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the International Trade Commission has seen through Boeing’s baseless complaint ... there can be no backsliding from the US government on this decision.”

The ITC’s role was to determine whether the aircraft manufacturing industry in America was damaged by imports that the US administration believed were being sold too cheaply.

Bombardier has received large sums from government administrations in the UK and Canada as part of the development of the C Series.

But Boeing said its business was damaged because Bombardier received illegal government subsidies, dumping the C Series in the US through the cut-price 2016 Delta sale of 75 jets.

However, the ITC said: “100 to 150 seat large civil aircraft from Canada do not injure US industry.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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