Union confident that tonight’s preliminary ruling will be overturned in future but government action needed now to avoid damage in meantime
Unite the union campaign to demand pressure put on Boeing to step up a gear with cross-party Westminster engagement next Wednesday [October 11th]
October 6th: Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, expressed his union’s disappointment with the latest, preliminary ruling by the United States’ Department of Commerce that recommended additional, punitive tariffs of 80% be imposed on Bombardier’s C-Series over allegations of price-dumping.
This is the second preliminary ruling against Bombardier by the Department and follows an earlier one a fortnight ago which resulted in countervailing tariffs of 219% imposed over charges of inappropriate state-subsidies to Bombardier’s C-Series.
“Tonight’s decision is disappointing but not unexpected. In the context of rising protectionism, US authorities appear intent on taking every opportunity to impose punitive tariffs on Bombardier.
“While we remain confident that this ruling will be overturned, if not in February when this preliminary ruling is reviewed, then by the World Trade Organisation in coming years, tariffs on this scale are designed to maximise the financial pressure on Bombardier in the meantime by effectively closing the US market to its flagship C-Series programme.
“Boeing recognises that Bombardier’s multi-billion pound investment in a blank-page redesign of commercial aircraft has resulted in a line that is superior in terms of space, quality, reliability and fuel economy to Boeing’s decades-old designs. Institutions such as the International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce which project themselves as guardians of the free market are now proactively closing the US markets by raising protectionist barriers to new and superior market entrants.
“Unite the union’s focus remains with safeguarding the jobs and skills base in Belfast. This ruling places a serious threat to four thousand workers at the five Bombardier sites in Northern Ireland as well as the approximately 20,000 whose jobs are sustained by the stimulus provided by the workers’ wages and the wider procurement associated with the company.
“In response to this, we will be stepping-up our campaigning activities. Next Wednesday [October 11th] a party of Unite workplace representatives will meet with a cross-party group in Westminster to raise the significance of these jobs for Northern Ireland and the need for the Government to make real their warnings to Boeing. The time for verbal warnings has now passed – the government must fully use their multi-billion pound leverage to defend UK jobs”, Mr Thompson concluded.