Bombardier to cut 280 jobs at Belfast plant
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier is shedding almost 300 jobs at its Belfast plant.
The Canadian company said the 280 redundancies were needed to make the company competitive in the long term.
Bombardier has been involved in a bitter international trade dispute with Boeing over the sale of its C- Series jets in the US - a row that has seen Prime Minister Theresa May lobbying President Donald Trump on multiple occasions.
It is unclear whether the dispute is a main factor in the latest round of redundancies.
Around a quarter of the 4,000 workforce in Belfast work on the C-Series, manufacturing the wings, and unions have been warning of pressures on other areas of Bombardier's work away from the C-Series.
Recent decisions by the US authorities to impose a huge 300% duty on C-Series jets being sold in the US did raise job fears in Belfast.
But those had receded somewhat when the Canadian firm struck a deal that saw US manufacturer Airbus acquire 50.01% of the C-Series programme. That move will see jets assembled within the US, in a bid to avoid the import tariffs.
Around 1,000 jobs were lost at Bombardier plant in Belfast last year as part of a global restructuring operation. Another 95 job losses were announced last month.
Announcing the latest redundancies, the company 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."
Union bosses have expressed disappointment.
Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, said it was "devastating news".
He called on the company to review what he branded a "premature" decision.
"At a time when the unions and the broader Bombardier workforce in Northern Ireland are leading efforts to put the pressure on political leaders to use their leverage on Boeing and the US administration to rescind the 300% tariffs threatened on the C Series, it is very saddening that our efforts are rewarded by this announcement," he said.
"Unite is calling on Bombardier to reconsider these redundancies and lift the threat to its workers in Northern Ireland at this time."
Downing Street acknowledged that it was a "very difficult time" for the workers and their families.
"The company have said they will minimise the number of compulsory redundancies," a Number 10 spokeswoman said.
" We will continue to work with them to make sure that people who lose their jobs are given help and support."