Bombardier workers to ballot over strike
Canadian aerospace company seeking more redundancies in North
The Bombardier facility in Belfast.
Bombardier workers are to be balloted on potential strike action by union leaders after the Canadian aerospace giant confirmed it is seeking further redundancies at its Northern Ireland operations.
Unions at Bombardier said the Canadian group is seeking up to 35 compulsory redundancies in connection with its ongoing global restructuring programme which will result in 500 job losses . The company employs about 4,000 in the North.
Union leaders said Bombardier is also seeking up to 40 voluntary redundancies simultaneously among its Northern Ireland workforce.
Susan Fitzgerald, Unite’s regional coordinating officer, said the latest job losses are fuelling concerns among Bombardier’s workforce in the North about their long term future.
Ms Fitzgerald said: “Bombardier’s employment in Northern Ireland has halved since 2014.
“We cannot sit back and watch as Bombardier goes the same way as Belfast shipbuilding, with jobs cuts ongoing until the very sustainability of operations is at risk.”
She said unions representing Bombardier workers in the North want the Canadian group “to come clean about their future plans for Northern Ireland”.
“Bombardier’s global management in Montreal appear to be intent on driving forward a disinvestment strategy leaving many in the workforce questioning whether there’s any room in that vision for their sites in Northern Ireland,” Ms Fitzgerald added.
She said unions now intend to consult their members in Bombardier about the prospect of industrial action in response to the ongoing redundancy programme.
“The unions are issuing a wake-up call to Bombardier’s management in Montreal. This workforce will not go down easily.
“Cutting back on jobs and skills in Northern Ireland is not a strategy for growth however the financial markets may view it - instead of cutting back, Bombardier bosses must invest and bring back employment to Northern Ireland”, Ms Fitzgerald said.
In a statement a spokeswoman for Bombardier said it was aware that trade unions were balloting their members for industrial action.
In response the Canadian group said it was committed to continuing to work with its Northern Ireland employees and trade union on its “transformation progress”.
But that any discussions with its workforce and their union reps were “confidential”.
“We acknowledge the impact on our workforce and their families and we continue to explore opportunities to help mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies. A significant number of Belfast employees have already accepted voluntary packages.
“However, we need to continue to cut costs and improve the efficiency of our operations to help ensure our long-term competitiveness,” the spokeswoman said.