Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier to cut another 280 jobs from Northern Ireland operations

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier is cutting another 280 jobs from its Northern Ireland operations.

The Canadian-owned plane maker is cutting workers here from non-manufacturing roles, according to the union Unite.

It comes as the firm is engaged in a transatlantic trade war with US rival Boeing, which could result in it facing huge 300% tariffs on planes sold to America.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier said: "Following the 7,500 global workforce reductions announced by Bombardier Inc last October, we continue to review our manpower requirements in Belfast and regret to confirm that we must reduce our workforce levels by around 280. 

"Those impacted will be functional support personnel, including managers and professional staff.

"We acknowledge the impact this will have on our workforce and their families and we continue to explore opportunities to help mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies.

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

Just last month the company cut 95 jobs here, following an outsourcing move.

And over the last two years it has shed more than 1,000 jobs across the company.

Davy Thompson of Unite said is is "very disappointed with this devastating news".

"Only last month management announced 95 redundancies and highlights our concerns that the Airbus agreement secured in the last fortnight has not provided any long-term guarantees to Northern Ireland workers.

“The jobs to be lost are functional as opposed to operational meaning losses will be concentrated outside the main production lines but this will be devastating news for the workers concerned and their families in the run-up to the end of the year.

“Unite is calling on management to review this decision. We do not agree with the case being made against retention of functional staff onsite. This decision is premature given the potential for jobs growth in the C Series and opportunities for additional employment on site with existing legacy products."

Ulster Unionist MLA for East Belfast, Andy Allen, and Economy spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, have said that further Bombardier job losses underlines the need for political stability in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen, who represents East Belfast, said:

“I am disappointed to learn of yet more devastating news for Bombardier workers and my thoughts are with those affected and their families.

“Today’s announcement is further proof that it is imperative that an Executive is established to work with the manufacturing sector and once and for all implement a manufacturing strategy to support this valued industry.”

The Bombardier job losses are a blow at an already challenging time for the company.

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard said: "It was hoped the announcement that Airbus would take a majority stake in the C-Series project last week would help ease pressures on the company.

"Both Bombardier and Schlumberger are bellweather companies embroiled in difficult economic times.

"It’s crucial that Invest NI has a strategy to attract more foreign direct investment projects and grow indigenous companies and that full support is given to workers being made redundant."

Thousands of Northern Ireland jobs looked to be at risk after a complaint from rival Boeing resulted in the US administration imposing a provisional 300% tariff on each of the aircraft sold there, potentially scuppering a multi-billion pound deal with Delta Air Lines for up to 125 jets. The tie-up with Airbus is an attempt to avoid the tariffs, and get around paying the hugely damaging duties.

Just this week it was revealed the sale of Bombardier's C Series passenger planes could be delayed this year as the company says it is "reviewing delivery plans" over changes to its engines.

The Canadian-owned aerospace giant, which employs more than 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland, produces the wings and part of the C Series fuselage in Belfast.

It now says that in light of the recent update from United Technologies, which produces its Pratt and Whitney jet engines, that "Bombardier is currently reviewing its delivery plans for 2017".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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