Northern Ireland

Bombardier: Staff asked to accept two-year pay freeze

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Media captionBombardier workers in Northern Ireland are being asked to accept a two-year pay freeze, with the firm telling them it is "in serious financial crisis".

Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland are being asked to accept a two-year pay freeze, with the firm telling them it is "in serious financial crisis".

The Canadian company's 5,500 local staff have been told there is a "business necessity" to cut costs in Belfast by 20% by 2017.

Workers are also being asked to work an extra one hour each Friday for the next two years.

It is understood the pay deal will be voted on in the coming weeks.

The BBC has seen the details of Bombardier's "final offer" to staff and in it they are told the future of the firm is under threat.

A three-year agreement is being sought which would see wages frozen in 2016 and 2017, with a 2% increase offered in 2018.

Bombardier tells its staff: "This is critical to our survival.

Slow sales

"This is essential to protect our long-term sustainability and improve competitiveness."

The company is Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer, but its fortunes have slumped due to slow sales and cost over-runs of its new CSeries passenger aircraft.

Last month, the provincial government in Quebec announced it would invest $1bn in the business.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bombardier's fortunes have slumped due to slow sales and cost over-runs of its new CSeries passenger aircraft.

Davy Thompson of the union Unite said: "We know the company has, for some time, been struggling in terms of finances.

"Really it comes down to a decision of the workforce as to which way they want to go with it."

About 800 jobs in Belfast have gone within the past year, mostly among its contractor labour force.

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