Wrightbus redundancies latest hammer blow for Ballymena and Antrim economy

George Brash

Wrightbus redundancies latest hammer blow for Ballymena and Antrim economy

Management inform workers of ninety-five job losses due to downturn in orders

February 12th: Manufacturing strategy including economic taskforce, with trade union representation, must be established to tackle tsunami of job losses

Employees at Wrightbus were this afternoon [Monday February 12] informed by management that there would be ninety-five job losses due to a downturn in orders. Responding on behalf of Unite the union, which represents the large majority of the approximately seven hundred strong workforce threatened by the job-losses, Regional Officer George Brash said:

“This news comes out of the blue to our union who had been informed a number of days ago that there were likely to be line changes due a shortage in parts but we didn’t expect any job losses. Today’s announcement will be devastating for the workforce, the latest in what has been a series of hammer blows to the Antrim and Ballymena workforce. Wrightbus is one of the last major remaining employers in the area after a spate of site closures over the past two years.

“We understand that the job losses are the result of the loss of sales to Transport for London in addition to the protracted delay in new orders coming in from Translink. In the first case, Unite has lobbied directly the Mayor of London’s office making the case to support UK workers. The fact that the contract for the purchase of London Transport buses has been transferred to China and Egypt is an inexcusable betrayal of Northern Ireland workers and represents a false economy to the UK taxpayer overall.

“We are also concerned by reports that the delay in sales under the Translink contract may be due to the absence of an accountable Minister. Wrightbus has a five-year contract to supply Translink but unfortunately authorisation for the new environmentally-friendly hybrid buses has not been forthcoming because it apparently needs Ministerial sign-off. If this is true, then the workers of Wrightbus are paying the price for the continued impasse and the failure of our politicians.

“For our part, Unite will redouble our efforts to break the logjam on orders and defend Northern Ireland jobs. We need to see our politicians and the economic development agency, Invest NI doing likewise. We are calling for a Manufacturing strategy, to include an Economic Taskforce with trade union representation, to tackle the impact of these job losses and those over previous years.

“The consultation period for this redundancy commences on Wednesday February 21st. Unite will be in constant contact with the workforce throughout the process and will endeavour to secure jobs and the best possible outcome for all our members”, Mr Brash said.

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