Union welcomes follow-through by corporation following cessation of production at their Ballymena site
July 19th: Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer welcomed the confirmation that Japan Tobacco International (JTI) will provide a £5 million legacy fund for Ballymena as it withdraws from their site in the town:
“When JTI corporate management rejected the joint Unite-local management proposal which we considered offered the best way forward and would have saved more than half the jobs onsite, we sought assurances that they would, at least, provide a legacy fund for the benefit of the Ballymena area.
“We welcome the fact that they have now followed-through on this commitment and announced this five million pound fund. We are particularly happy that among the first Fund Trustees appointed is Pat McCallion, one of our team of senior shop stewards at the factory.
“Pat is a highly experienced and capable shop steward who was previously elected to our regional industrial committee for the Tobacco sector. His inclusion means that local workers will have a major voice in the roll-out of this fund.
“Unite believes that the priority should be to benefit those young people who will not now be able to find work in JTI’s Ballymena factory. This is a town that badly needs investment and jobs.
“So far we have been underwhelmed by the response of our policy-makers in Stormont who have refused to bring forward the proactive, industrial strategy needed to attract jobs for the thousands of skilled workers in the Ballymena area.
“In the context where Ballymena faces the loss of a similar number of jobs in Michelin over the next twenty-four months, Unite is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to match what JTI have put on the table and create a fund capable of meeting the challenges of the future”, Mr Thompson concluded.