Belfast Telegraph

'Nobody knows if their job is safe, we're told nothing'

By Brett Campbell

Bombardier employees have said they were left in the dark about the impact of the company's turbulent trade dispute with aerospace rival Boeing.

As workers left the east Belfast factory on a wet autumn afternoon yesterday, there was a feeling of despondency.

"No one knows if their job is safe because we have been told nothing, absolutely nothing", a quality control worker told the Belfast Telegraph.

Another employee who has worked for the Canadian firm for almost 20 years described mixed feelings on the factory floor in the wake of the tariffs row.

"Some people don't care and others are very worried, but I think there should be some clarity on the company's position," the worker said.

"I don't know if Boeing will back down or negotiate, they're a big American business and all they care about is dominating.

"This is an attempt to monopolise the aerospace industry and it's very worrying, there's no doubt about that."

The dispute centres around State subsidies to Bombardier, but the anxious employee accused Boeing of also benefiting from them in the past.

"I'm used to worrying about my job but this crisis is different - there has to be an alternative solution to what Boeing are doing," they said.

"Boeing have received billions of dollars from their own government over the years, but Bombardier is being given the short stick."

One optimistic employee, who said he had spent 30 years worrying about his job, expressed confidence that a negotiated settlement could be achieved. "It's in everyone's interest because Boeing is a big player with a lot of money and clout, but the company will have to sit down and talk," he said.

A sceptical aircraft fitter said he was unsure what to make of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon's warning that the fallout could jeopardise MoD contracts with Boeing.

"I don't know If I'm reassured by Mr Fallon's comments because I'm not sure how serious this all is," he said. "It just seems like a big game to me and I suspect there's something else going on here, but they'll sort it all out, because they have to."

Another worker described the situation as "corporate bullying" and urged Mr Fallon to "play Boeing at their own game".

"If he cancelled those contracts they would quickly come to the table," he claimed.

Belfast Telegraph

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