Belfast Telegraph

Margaret Canning: Remarkable turn of events in Wrightbus deal after war of words

Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
Happiness at Ballymena as Union reps deliver the news that a deal to save Wrightbus has been accepted. Mandatory Credit Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

In what seems like a remarkable turn of events, Jo Bamford has agreed terms on a deal in principle with the Wright family for the sale of their land and the factory.

A deal seemed far off yesterday, with Bamford and Jeff Wright —  the ex-company director who owns the land and factory with other family members – at loggerheads over the price for other bits of land on the site. 

It was such a highly unusual turn of events for two parties to a deal to air their grievances so publicly that there had to be more going on.

In hindsight, we can regard this as both parties forced to go public because the feelings and gossip about Wrightbus have been so intense that it was impossible to conduct negotiations in private.

And negotiations must have been so heated that both had to vent their anger with the other.

This morning, the workers are jubilant that a deal on the land has been done in principle though Bamford has said he has still to conclude a deal with the administrators for the business itself. 

Hoping those remaining hurdles can be cleared.  But there will still be casualties from this affair — the suppliers to Wrightbus who are estimated to be owed £25m in total remain unlikely to see but a fraction of what they’re owed. 

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