Northern Ireland

Bombardier job cuts: Reaction in Northern Ireland

Bombardier Aerospace factory in Belfast Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Bombardier has owned the former Shorts Brothers factory in Belfast since 1989

Politicians and business leaders have been reacting to news of up to 1,000 job losses at one of Northern Ireland's biggest employers, Bombardier.

The Canadian-owned aerospace firm has announced plans to cut the posts over a two-year period.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness:

"The news that staff at Bombardier have received today is a devastating development for many of the workers, their families and the wider manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland. While the company has made it clear their decision is as a result of inescapable global economic factors, the impact is very real for those affected, and for the wider economy.

"Bombardier has made it clear their decision aims to protect the long-term future of the business. The Executive will make every effort to mitigate the impact of the job losses and we will work closely with Invest NI and with the enterprise and employment and learning ministers to ensure all possible avenues are explored."

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

"This is bitterly disappointing news for the employees of Bombardier Belfast and their families. I think there is some comfort to be drawn from the fact that the company has made it very clear their commitment to the C Series that's manufactured in Belfast, and their commitment to Belfast."

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell:

"The impact of this decision will be hard felt in Northern Ireland, in particular by those personally affected. First and foremost, my thoughts are with the workers and their families as they absorb today's news.

He added: "While today's news is deeply disappointing, Bombardier Inc has made it clear that the decision has been taken to safeguard the company's long term future globally and here in Northern Ireland."

Employment Minister Stephen Farry:

"The job losses announced today by Bombardier are extremely regrettable, not only for those who have lost their jobs, but also for the families, communities and the economy as a whole.

"My department will be proactive in determining what steps we can take to assist employees facing redundancy to provide them with advice and guidance regarding re-skilling, training and alternative employment opportunities."

Unite the union's regional coordinating officer Davy Thompson:

"This jobs loss announcement is the latest, cruel blow to Northern Ireland's manufacturing sector. While the scale of the losses reflect the severe market conditions being experienced by the group which has led to over 7.000 job losses globally, heavy manufacturers across the region continue to face challenging times.

"The Northern Ireland Executive needs to redouble their efforts and secure alternative employment for those highly skilled workers who will be made redundant."

Invest Northern Ireland chief executive Alastair Hamilton:

"While we were fully aware that Bombardier intended to make cost reductions across its global business, the news of 7,000 jobs, 1,080 in Northern Ireland, is much greater than anticipated.

"We have listened to the company's reasoning for this difficult decision and, while it is hard to hear, we understand why it has had to make this choice.

"While Bombardier feels this 'right-sizing' is essential for the business market as it stands today, its announcement of a new order of 75 CS300 aircraft by Air Canada is a positive development and I have every confidence that its commitment to the CSeries project will see the company's presence in Belfast rebuild for the future."

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, from the Democratic Unionist Party:

"Today's announcement is devastating for the Bombardier workforce and their families. My thoughts are with all of those affected and who now face an uncertain future. Those workers must now get any help and support they require to find alternative employment or retraining.

"Bombardier still remains an absolutely vital part of the Northern Ireland economy however and I would hope reassurance can be given of the viability of the East Belfast site going forward."

East Belfast Assembly Member Chris Lyttle, from Alliance:

"This is a serious development and my thoughts are foremost with the workers and families affected by this news. It is important to say that the skills and productivity of Bombardier Northern Ireland workers are first class and this decision appears to be based primarily on factors affecting the company on a global basis."

South Belfast Assembly Member Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, from Sinn Féin:

"Not only does this impact on those who lose their jobs but also has a knock-on effect on the local economy as these wages are removed. I am hoping when the new CSeries goes into full production that we can see a reverse of this trend and see employment rise again."

Adrian Cochrane-Watson, Ulster Unionist enterprise spokesperson

"The loss of 1,080 jobs in Belfast comes hot on the heels of the announcement of significant manufacturing job losses at JTI and Michelin in Ballymena. The Bombardier announcement is yet another concrete example of a minister and department that is out of touch with the grim reality of the challenges that are facing manufacturing in Northern Ireland."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

"In an interview two weeks ago the enterprise minister said he had no indications of any job losses at the Bombardier plant. Today we hear that 580 people have lost their jobs, and 500 other people could be out of work next year. The priority today must be the 580 workers who now need a new job and saving the 500 additional jobs which are due to disappear in 2017."

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI

"Bombardier represents around 10% of our total exports and almost 50% of the manufacturing jobs in Belfast as well as a deeply embedded supply chain which stretches from the north west to north Down. These are well paid, highly skilled advanced manufacturing roles in line with the current economic strategy."

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