Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland workers 'on notice' in event of no-deal Brexit

Businesses on both sides of the border are preparing for a no-deal Brexit.
Businesses on both sides of the border are preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

A number of Northern Ireland businesses have put their workers on notice as they prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The Irish Times has reported that a number of companies have begun to prepare for a worst-case Brexit scenario and a hard border.

Businesses reliant on cross border trade are among those putting contingency plans into place.

On Thursday Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders warned the Government that his company could leave Belfast if the UK exits the EU without a deal.

Airbus currently employs around 1,000 staff in Belfast where the wings for the company's A220 jet are made.

A leading Northern Ireland food producer, who did not want to be named, told the Irish Times that they had placed a quarter of its staff on protective notice.

The business is a major supplier to supermarkets in the Republic of Ireland. They said that they took the decision because one of its customers said they would not pay EU trade tarriffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A number of businesses in Northern Ireland have confirmed that they have received early orders from customers in the Republic ahead of the UK's departure from the EU. 

Businesses in Northern Ireland have also requested extra stock from Southern suppliers to prevent disruption.

The UK is currently on track for a no-deal Brexit with no withdrawal agreement in place ahead of departure from the EU on March 29.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI
Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI

MPs are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's 'Plan B' next Tuesday.

Industry chief Stephen Kelly said that businesses were becoming concerned at the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit.

"We have been telling businesses to hold tight – not to activate all of their Brexit contingency plans and to try and be calm because we still believe no deal is not an option, but companies are definitely worried," the Manufacturing NI chief executive told the Irish Times.

“We know they are stockpiling supplies and we are responding to lots of calls from our members worried about what they should do next. Our advice at this time is to hold fire,” Mr Kelly said.

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