Bombardier to cut 1,080 jobs in Belfast

Aerospace group speeds up ongoing redundancy programme

Canadian aerospace group Bombardier is one of the biggest private-sector employers and plays a crucial role in the North’s economy. Photograph: Patrick Doyle/Bloomberg

Canadian aerospace group Bombardier is one of the biggest private-sector employers and plays a crucial role in the North’s economy. Photograph: Patrick Doyle/Bloomberg

 

Francess McDonnell

Bombardier Aerospace is to fast-track an ongoing redundancy programme in the North and axe a total of 1,080 jobs “within the next few months” instead of a previously outlined two-year period.

The Canadian aerospace group told its Belfast workforce on Thursday that it intends to speed up the pace of the redundancies that it first announced in February as part of a push to reduce its global workforce by 7,000.

In a statement, Bombardier’s Belfast management said: “We now expect to complete the release of those impacted within our Belfast workforce within the next few months. This is a very difficult and challenging time for all our workforce and their families, but it is crucial to our long-term future that we continue to significantly reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.

‘We will continue to explore ways to mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies in relation to the completion of this workforce reduction.”

Political leaders have expressed fresh concerns about the job losses and said those affected at Bombardier have been devastated to learn they will lose their livelihoods sooner than had been previously expected.

Global operation

The acceleration in the planned redundancy programme at its Northern Ireland operation follows Bombardier’s confirmation last week that it intends to axe a further 7,500 jobs across its global operation, prompting fears that the North may yet be subject to another round of job cuts.

Davy Thompson, regional coordinating officer with the trade union Unite, said while it was disappointed about Bombardier’s move to speed up the planned redundancy programme it also recognised that its Belfast management was fighting to “sustain more operations in Belfast for the long term”.

“This decision has been made against a backdrop where the company’s corporate management are seeking an additional 7,500 job-losses globally.

“Unite will continue working with management locally with the aim of securing jobs and defending terms and conditions,” Mr Thompson said.

The Canadian group is one of the biggest private-sector employers and plays a crucial role in the North’s economy.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of the campaigning organisation, Manufacturing NI, said every employee job in Bombardier supports at least 1.5 jobs in smaller manufacturing firms that are part of its supplier chain.

Simon Hamilton

The North’s Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has pledged to do everything he can to save as many Bombardier jobs as possible in the North.

Mr Hamilton said he, his officials and representatives from the UK’s Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy are engaging with Bombardier’s local management and in Canada.

But the Minister has been fire-fighting on a number of fronts this week with other significant job losses looming.

WiggleCRC, one of the world’s largest online bike retailers, said it also intends to axe 313 jobs in Northern Ireland following its decision to relocate a large proportion of its warehouse activities currently based in Northern Ireland to Wolverhampton.