DUP and SF appeal to US over Bombardier jobs threat
Boeing has accused Bombardier of selling C Series aircraft at below production costs
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill have appealed to Mike Pence for help in addressing a “very grave economic threat” to Bombardier’s Northern Ireland workforce. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters
The leaders of the North’s two main political parties have jointly written to the vice-president of the United States to warn him of the “alarming” threat that accusations levelled at Bombardier by its rival Boeing could have for workers in the North.
Boeing has accused Bombardier of selling its C Series aircraft in the US at below production costs.
It is the second time that the attention of the White House has been drawn to the dispute between Boeing and Bombardier.
The British prime minister Theresa May has also phoned US president Donald Trump to tell him how investment and jobs in the North could be threatened by Boeing’s claims about the Canadian aerospace group, one of the North’s largest private sector employers.
The US Department of Commerce is currently carrying out an anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation based on Boeing’s allegations.
The DUP and Sinn Féin leaders have told the US vice-president that if the case against Bombardier succeeds it would “have serious implications for the future of the C Series aircraft and Bombardier’s Belfast operation, where C Series wings are manufactured”.
They warn that the significance of Bombardier’s role in the local economy cannot be understated and that any negative outcome of the Boeing case could have a direct impact on the peace process.
“At a time when we are striving to take the next steps in our work on the peace process, and resolve our current political difficulties, this issue creates a new and potentially critical factor. At this crucial and sensitive time for the future we would ask you to give consideration to the implications any decision may have here,” the political leaders plead.
Meanwhile the Unite trade union has demanded that Boeing “ends its corporate bullying” at the Trades Union Congress on Wednesday in Brighton.
“Unite is demanding the prime minister and the government stand up for the workforce in Northern Ireland and our aerospace industry and to stand up for decent jobs. She needs to tell president Trump she will not stand by and watch Boeing threaten thousands of jobs,” Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said.