Minister must reverse decision to award Belfast Rapid Transit contract to overseas suppliers

002Decision to overlook local suppliers inexcusable at a time when manufacturing faces an unprecedented crisis

Public procurement must be used to stimulate demand in the local economy

November 27th: Responding to the news that the contract for supply of BRT (Belfast Rapid Transit) vehicles was awarded by Minister McIlveen to an overseas supplier, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, Davy Thompson, called on the Minister to intervene and reverse the decision:

“Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector is already facing an unprecedented crisis. It is essential that every opportunity is taken to support local employment.

“The decision to award a £19 million contract for the supply of thirty Belfast Rapid Transit vehicles to a consortium led by the Belgian Van Hool group is inexcusable. Unite had fought hard to secure the inclusion of world-class local suppliers, such as Wrightbus, in the procurement process but the opportunity to secure this work for Northern Ireland workers has been lost.

“We are calling on Minister McIlveen to intervene and reverse this decision. Public procurement offers one of the few mechanisms available to our political leaders to stimulate demand in the local economy. We can’t afford to lose out on these jobs.

“While we recognise that a proportion of the contract will be conducted locally – the bulk of the work will be going overseas.

“Unite is also concerned that the contract awarded may also include maintenance responsibilities which will threaten the job security of Translink in-house engineers and technicians. Surely, at these times, our politicians should be grabbing every opportunity to safeguard local jobs”, Mr Thompson concluded.

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