Minister Bell must reverse Invest NI decision to not proactively seek inward investment in Manufacturing
November 11th: Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer responded to today’s job loss announcements:
“In the last few hours, Schrader, Invista and Caterpillar have indicated almost 200 job-losses. Unite is strongly represented in both Caterpillar and Invista and share the concern of our members who are now faced with the threat of redundancy in the run up to Christmas. Both these announcements have the potential to threaten further employment along the supply-chain.
“Bombardier-Shorts announced significant job losses this year and Caterpillar shed 140 jobs this time last year; closures were announced by Michelin, JTI and Sirocco. In total, 2,500 high-value manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last year. The net impact of these losses is likely to multiplied three times when indirect and induced jobs lost are included.
“Those who say Manufacturing in Northern Ireland is not in crisis are in denial. The apathy and inaction that have characterised the NI Executive’s approach to manufacturing must end now. In 2014, our manufacturing sector delivered more than £18 billion in external trade but our political representatives have sat on their hands in relation to the challenges facing the sector.
“Unite and Manufacturing NI have repeatedly made the case that the NI Executive must develop and implement a manufacturing strategy to meet the needs of the sector: high energy costs, the difficulty obtaining a generating supply connection, low investment in supporting infrastructure, the unnecessary restriction on grant-aid provided to induce manufacturing investment and inadequate funding for skills and training. Unite also considers the lack of statutory protections for Northern Ireland employees means that workers here are disproportionately likely to lose out when a multi-national operation considers a global reduction.
“Last Friday, a spokesperson for Invest NI was quoted confirming that they are not proactively seeking foreign direct investment in Manufacturing as they do not consider Northern Ireland to have a competitive advantage. In light of these announcements, the unparalleled skills and commitment of our workers and the facilities Northern Ireland can offer investors, this attitude is totally unacceptable and makes mockery of commitments to find workers alternative employment. Minister Bell must immediately act to reverse this decision by Invest NI and to ensure it does everything possible to attract manufacturing investment and jobs for Northern Ireland”, Mr Thompson concluded.