Bombardier Aerospace to cut a further 95 jobs in Belfast

Job losses part of planned 1,080 redundancies in Belfast and 7,000 worldwide

Bombardier Aerospace is to accelerate its ongoing redundancy programme in Northern Ireland and axe a further 95 jobs on top of a planned 630 redundancies this year

Bombardier Aerospace is to accelerate its ongoing redundancy programme in Northern Ireland and axe a further 95 jobs on top of a planned 630 redundancies this year

 

Bombardier Aerospace is to accelerate its ongoing redundancy programme in Northern Ireland and axe a further 95 jobs on top of a planned 630 redundancies this year.

The Canadian Aerospace group first announced in February that it intended to reduce its Northern Ireland workforce by a total of 1,080 people between this year and next as part of a “global downsizing” strategy.

Overall the group intends to axe 7,000 jobs worldwide.

Bombardier initially told its workforce in the North there would be 580 job losses this year with the remaining 500 under threat destined to go in 2017.

But in April it then warned it was likely the number of people to be made redundant in 2016 could rise and the figure would settle at potentially 630.

However, on Wednesday Bombardier confirmed that following a review it needed to “pull forward to this year more of the workforce reductions that were expected to take place during 2017.”

Overall figure unchanged

A spokesperson for the group said: “The overall figure of 1,080 over 2016 and 2017 that we announced in February as part of Bombardier’s global restructuring has not changed.

“However, we now expect up to another 95 employees will leave the company this year instead of next, in addition to the ongoing reduction of contractors and agency workers.”

The group said it was continuing to do all it could to “mitigate the numbers of compulsory redundancies”.

But with Bombardier’s chief executive Alain Bellemare warning last month that the aerospace giant was continuing to battle with “a soft market” and the move to speed up the pace of redundancies in the North, it is a far from reassuring scenario for the local workforce.

C-Series success

There had been a sigh of relief when the Canadian group’s much heralded new C-Series aircraft, with its Belfast-designed and produced wings, completed its first commercial flight with Swiss International Airlines last month.

The flight marked the beginning of a new chapter for the C-Series which has plagued Bombardier with budget over-runs and a somewhat lukewarm market response at the start.

The group also required a significant injection of liquidity in the form of a $1 billion US investment by the Government of Quebec and an additional $1.5 billon investment by Quebec’s public pension fund manager to help bail it out of its financial difficulties earlier this year.

Against the backdrop of further market uncertainty, Bombardier said on Wednesday that it “must continue to evaluate every opportunity to significantly reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness, in order to help secure our long-term future.”

Union reaction

Trade union leaders in the North are understandably concerned about what else may be on the horizon for its local workforce and says while the latest job cuts impact on its core workforce there could also be redundancies in the pipeline for its temporary employees.

Davy Thompson, regional coordinating officer for Unite, said: “This announcement brings to 735 the number of workers at the former Shorts site who are set to lose their jobs this year.

“Unite is calling for urgent talks with Stormont Ministers to discuss what has been an ongoing issue, with the consistent theme of closures and redundancies over the past two years.

“The heavy manufacturing sector has been decimated by three major closures in the Belfast and Ballymena areas and we have witnessed a drip-feed of redundancies in Bombardier, Caterpillar and most recently at the DuPont site in the North West. These losses now amount to thousands of direct and indirect job losses.”