Bombardier Belfast hopes to save 60 of 280 jobs under threat

Canadian aerospace group cites economic and geopolitical conditions in plan for global cuts

Bombardier is reducing its global workforce by 1,750 Photograph: Bloomberg

Bombardier is reducing its global workforce by 1,750 Photograph: Bloomberg


Bombardier Belfast said on Thursday it hopes to be able to save at least 60 jobs out of 280 under threat in the North after its parent group confirmed plans to reduce production of two business jets which will result in total job losses of 1,750.

The Canadian aerospace group said that “current economic conditions and geopolitical issues in some market regions” particularly Latin America, China and Russia, had hit the order book for its Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircraft.

Its Belfast operations play a key role in the design and manufacture of a range of parts for the aircraft, including the forward fuselages, engine nacelles, horizontal stabilisers and other components.

Éric Martel, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft, said the lack of demand for business jets had forced it to “adjust our production accordingly”.

Because of the impact on production cycles, the group intends to axe 1,750 employees - up to 1,000 in Montréal, 480 in Toronto and 280 in Belfast.

The redundancy programme will start next month and continue through the first quarter of next year.

Trade unions warned the scale of the job losses in Northern Ireland would be far reaching.

Davy Thompson from Unite said: “The job losses are likely to be concentrated in the ‘complementary labour force’ although the scale will mean that some ‘core’ staff may be affected. Management have indicated that they intend to ensure that job losses to ‘core’ staff are delivered through our social pact to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“The job losses associated with this announcement are the latest in a series of blows to the NI manufacturing base culminating in more than 2,000 jobs being lost,” Mr Thompson.

It is the third jobs blow for Bombardier’s Belfast operations in the last two years.

In February Bombardier cut 130 jobs in the North, having eliminated almost 400 roles last year.

Bombardier, with more than 5,000 full time employees and nearly 1,000 contract workers , remains one of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers.

Management in Belfast on Thursday said that while 280 people would be directly affected by the current redundancy programme, they hoped “to mitigate this number through a range of measures, including transfers to other programmes and projects”.

“The majority of those affected will be members of our Complementary Labour Force and other temporary and agency staff who work alongside our employees. A small number of Bombardier employees will also be affected, but we will look at all opportunities to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies within our permanent workforce. We deeply regret the impact this will have on all those affected and their families,” a spokeswoman said.