December 20th: Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite called on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to set aside today’s (Wednesday 20 December) final determination by US Commerce Department to recommend ‘job crushing’ tariffs of almost 300 per cent on the importation to the US of Bombardier’s C Series passenger jet.
The ITC is expected to make a final decision on 1 February 2018 on whether Boeing has suffered injury or loss as a result of Delta Airlines’ order of C Series jets. If the ITC finds in Boeing’s favour the tariffs will be applied.
A Unite delegation was in Washington last week putting the case to politicians and key decision makers that Boeing’s case is without merit and tariffs should not apply.
Describing today’s US Commerce Department decision as ‘nakedly political’, Unite warned that in addition to Northern Ireland jobs, as many as 22,000 US jobs could be under threat if the US ITC decided to impose tariffs.
On Monday 18 December the US ITC heard from UK, European Union and Canadian government representatives who argued, along with representatives from Bombardier and Delta Airlines that Boeing had suffered no material loss.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Today’s decision by the US Commerce Department on C Series tariffs is nakedly political and has the potential to crush jobs, not only in Northern Ireland but in the US too.
“More than 50 percent of C Series components are sourced from the US, where the supply chain sustains 22,000 US jobs. The economic impact of these tariffs would be felt in communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Boeing does not produce an aircraft in the same class as Bombardier’s C Series and didn’t even bid for the Delta contract it is complaining about, which leaves its complaint totally without merit.
“Boeing is using its meritless complaint as cover to close the US market, which is one of the biggest in the world, to new entrants such as Bombardier’s C Series aircraft.
“We would urge the US International Trade Commission to do the right thing for fair trade and jobs by finding against Boeing and setting aside the commerce department’s determination when it makes its final decision in the New Year.
“The UK government, despite handing out defence contracts to Boeing amounting to more than £4.6 billion, have provided no answers to the threat hanging over workers.
“Ministers have not even hinted at challenging future contracts with Boeing. When we asked what action they had taken to defend jobs, we were lamely told that Theresa May had rang Donald Trump. The UK government has to start forcefully backing Bombardier workers.”
Unite regional officer for Bombardier in Northern Ireland Susan Fitzgerald added: “This decision poses a devastating risk for the Northern Ireland economy. Tariffs on the scale proposed by the US Commerce Department in the world’s largest airline market, threaten to undermine the long-term economics of Bombardier’s presence in Northern Ireland.
“Not only is it a threat to the economy, it poses a significant threat to stability in Northern Ireland. Unite is very conscious that workplaces are the largest integrated environments in our society. We cannot lose thousands more jobs on top of what’s already gone and expect hopelessness and instability not to feature.
“There is no need for one single job loss, in fact, the potential exists for the creation of jobs in Northern Ireland, the US, Canada and elsewhere. The C Series represents a tremendous opportunity for further growth in the sector.
“Unite will leave no stone unturned in our campaign to defend jobs and skills in Northern Ireland.”