Public meetings to be chaired by UTV business editor, Jamie Delargy, and have a focus on job creation policies
First husting event will take place in Larne Townhall at 7.30pm on Thursday 21st April with a second at ‘The Braid’, Ballymena at 7.30pm Wednesday 27th April
April 18th: Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, has confirmed that there is growing public interest in the two hustings events his union is hosting in Larne and Ballymena, two towns impacted heavily by the recent spate of job losses in the manufacturing sector.
“We decided to host these events in Ballymena and Larne as the logical next step in our Campaign for a Future. Our activists and lead shop stewards in manufacturing workplaces such as FG Wilson have pushed for such public accountability meetings as a response to the crisis in the sector.
“We have written to all parties standing locally in the Assembly elections requesting that they attend and answer questions from the public, and our members, on what they will do to ensure investment and jobs are brought into these areas. It is also likely that these meetings will hear demands to defend local public services and social welfare benefits.
“Our hugely successful Rally for a Future held on February in Ballymena demonstrated just how strong and widespread is the demand for real action by our political leaders. Already, as a result of our campaigning work, some of the parties have committed themselves to securing a stand-alone strategy for manufacturing in the next Programme for Government. We believe such a strategy is necessary to focus efforts for real impact on issues such as high energy prices as well as to deliver the scale of infrastructural investment necessary for future success.
“Recently the Chief Executive of Invest NI, Alistair Hamilton, wrote to Unite to assure us that Invest NI is proactively seeking Manufacturing foreign-direct investment and jobs. We are glad that Invest NI have made this clear but it remains to be seen just what such commitment will mean for communities in towns like Ballymena and Larne. As we have said before, Invest NI will be judged on their success in delivering real jobs with decent wages and terms and conditions.
“There has been huge public interest in these husting events. The public see them as offering a way to put on the pressure for real action to secure jobs and investment. We expect all political parties will attend. The debate will be chaired by UTV business editor, Jamie Delargy, a man who knows a great deal about the real economy. There is sure to be a strong focus on bread and butter issues – we are asking the public to come along and get answers to the questions that matter most”, Mr Kelly concluded.