Union welcomes planned EU intervention by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Campaign for escalated UK action to stop Boeing corporate bullying will continue
Ireland secretary for Unite, Jimmy Kelly, has welcomed the revelation by BBC Spotlight that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be raising the plight of Bombardier workers with the EU President Jean-Claude Juncker later this week. Mr Kelly also reiterated his union’s determination to continue campaigning for real action by the UK government to force Boeing, and its allies in the White House, to drop the punitive tariffs imposed on the C Series by the United States.
“Unite has spearheaded a growing campaign to demand the UK government use its leverage as the second biggest client of Boeing internationally. In that context we have been engaging with political leaders in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Last week we brought a delegation of workers to Westminster to speak directly to MPs, and our e-petition demanding a parliamentary debate on the issue has attracted almost five thousand signatures in just three days.
“Our campaign remains on track notwithstanding today’s announcement of the 50.1 percent acquisition in C Series by Airbus. The threat to Bombardier jobs continues since the tariffs proposed by the US administration remain on the table and threaten to shut out Bombardier’s C Series from the key US market. The Airbus deal will take almost a year to complete and the process could be held-up or overturned through an anti-trust challenge. It is already clear that Boeing will seek to defend the tariffs on the C Series regardless of Airbus’ involvement.
“In this context, the revelation on BBC Spotlight that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to raise the issue of the tariffs with the EU President Jean-Claude Juncker will be welcomed by Bombardier workers. It is vital that we escalate this trade dispute to a European Union level, and fully use the power of that trading bloc to stand up to the corporate bullying of Boeing and its backers in the protectionist Trump administration.
“Unite will be seeking to engage with MEPs from both parts of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom on this issue. Bombardier’s supply chain extends into dozens of companies across these islands. It is vital that we explore all avenues to end the threat posed by these punitive tariffs.
“That requires urgent action by administrations in London, Dublin and Brussels”, Mr Kelly concluded.