Belfast Telegraph

Wrightbus staff in second Sunday protest at church

A protest outside Green Pastures Church in Ballymena yesterday by former Wrightbus employees
A protest outside Green Pastures Church in Ballymena yesterday by former Wrightbus employees
The company’s founder William Wright waves as he leaves the church

By Staff Reporter

Former Wrightbus workers gathered for a second Sunday protest outside the Green Pastures church in Ballymena yesterday.

They lined up outside the church, where the pastor is Jeff Wright, son of Wrightbus founder Sir William Wright.

It has emerged that Green Pastures received £15m in donations from Wrightbus, most of which was donated when the group was profitable.

The Wrightbus factory is owned by Jeff Wright, separately from the manufacturing company. It is understood potential buyers were being asked for about £1m a year to lease the property.

The family has denied acting unreasonably during attempts to sell the business.

Yesterday the silence was broken only once, when the workers applauded Sir William as he left the building at Galgorm, on the outskirts of Ballymena.

The futures of 1,200 employees at the Ballymena bus manufacturing firm were thrown into uncertainty two weeks ago when the company - which built the iconic red Routemaster buses known as Boris Buses - collapsed into administration.

Since then, frantic efforts have been made to try and find a way to rescue the manufacturing operation.

Last week it emerged that Scottish bus makers Alexander Dennis had approached former Wrightbus employees.

Michael Magney of administrators Deloitte revealed the Alexander Dennis move while briefing members of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on Tuesday evening.

It has also emerged that entrepreneur Jo Bamford has re-entered talks to buy the company.

Mr Bamford's company Ryse Hydrogen is now back in talks with administrators about a potential purchase.

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