Jeff Wright must do the right thing and ‘hand back the land’ to protect jobs and skills
Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock reiterated his union’s call for the UK government to act to secure a future for Wrightbus and to safeguard jobs and skills.
“Yesterday the Conservative government has promised a new deal for Northern Ireland. If that promise is to mean anything it must mean action to safeguard our manufacturing sector in general and the livelihoods of the Wrightbus workforce in particular.
“The lessons of Harland & Wolff where after a nine week workplace occupation, the shipyard was saved must be learnt by all. There is substantial commercial interest in this company but it is vital that we see the urgent action needed from government to ensure the administrators maintain the company as a ‘going-concern’.
“Saving the livelihoods of the 1,200 Wrightbus workers is not just a moral imperative but of vital importance to the social and economic future of Ballymena. This community has suffered so much already with repeated large-scale closures and job-losses in recent years.
“Unite feels that the critical obstacle to the prospect of successfully saving the jobs and skills of this workforce of 1,200 is the question mark hovering over the ownership of the site itself. We are calling on the Jeff Wright to do the right thing and ‘hand back the land’ to the people of Ballymena”, Mr Pollock said.
Unite Regional Officer for Wrightbus, George Brash, encouraged attendance at tomorrow’s Unite march and rally for jobs and a future.
“Ballymena stands at a crossroads. If we allow these jobs to be lost then this community and indeed the wider region faces the prospect of post-industrial decline; if we succeed in saving these jobs and this production, then the road is open to an economic renaissance.
“Wrightbus workers hold the key to growth in their hands. Their skills and expertise are vital for the future public transport needs of Northern Ireland and further afield. The renewable energy powered buses that this company were developing will become the new normal – the demand for these buses will drive investment and job creation above anything we have witnessed to date. Northern Ireland cannot simply sit back and watch as this historic opportunity is lost.
“We are urging the wider Ballymena community to join our march and rally for jobs and a future – we need to keep on the pressure to secure a win for all”, Mr Brash concluded.
The #SaveWrightbusJobs march & rally for jobs and a future will commence from the Unite offices in Ballymena at noon tomorrow [Friday October 4th]