Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier job losses put NI manufacturing in 'dark place'

By John Mulgrew

Manufacturing in Northern Ireland is in a "very dark place" after it emerged Bombardier will complete 1,080 job losses this year, it has been claimed.

The Canadian-owned plane maker is bringing forward around 200 job cuts this year - the remainder of 1,080 staff redundancies it announced back in February.

The posts were initially due to be split across 2016 and 2017 - but the firm is now bringing forward the rest "in the next few months".

The company has brought forward 100 or so job cuts this year already.

Last week the Belfast Telegraph reported it was expected that Bombardier would bring forward the remainder of those job cuts this year.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier said: "We have advised our employees that we are initiating the process to conclude the planned workforce reduction originally announced in February.

"We now expect to complete the release of those impacted within our Belfast workforce within the next few months.

"This is a very difficult and challenging time for all our workforce and their families, but it is crucial to our long-term future that we continue to significantly reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.

"We will continue to explore ways to mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies in relation to the completion of this workforce reduction."

It comes just after Bombardier announced a further 7,500 staff cuts globally, prompting fears of hundreds of additional job losses here in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist economy spokesman Steve Aiken said manufacturing is now in a "very dark place", following the loss of Bombardier staff and cuts at bicycle retailer Chain Reaction, following its merger with Wiggle.

More than 300 jobs are at risk at Wiggle CRC, as it is now known, as the company plans to concentrate most of its warehouse facilities in Wolverhampton.

"Despite all the talk from the Executive that our economy is on the up, the facts are starting to speak for themselves," he said.

"These are not isolated events, this is a serious trend of major job losses and signs of a manufacturing industry on its knees.

"Surely, the Executive must now see that our manufacturing sector needs urgent support and intervention?"

Bombardier has struggled with its over-budget and long-delayed CSeries passenger aircraft - part-made in Belfast - and earlier this year received a $1bn bailout from the regional Quebec Government.

Davy Thompson of union Unite said: "Bombardier's announcement will mean that all 1,080 redundancies planned over a two-year period will now happen in the current year; 200 more workers will receive redundancy in the months to come.

"This decision has been made against a backdrop where the company's corporate management are seeking an additional 7,500 job losses globally.

"While we are disappointed at the news, we recognise that it reflects the desire of local management to sustain more operations in Belfast for the long-term.

"Unite will continue working with management locally, with the aim of securing jobs and defending terms and conditions."

Following the announcement of a further 7,500 cuts globally, it is understood the company will be cutting two-thirds of the jobs in Bombardier Transportation.

The rest of the cuts will be made in the aerospace division.

Bombardier employs around 5,000 staff in Belfast. But the company has not said how many local jobs will be affected.

The firm's main NI operation is in Belfast, but it also has three other factories in the country.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph