Likelihood is that if jobs go, Wright name will become synonymous with collapse of manufacturing in Ballymena
Incoming Chief Executive of Invest NI Kevin Holland must intervene and provide full start-up supports to Wrightbus
Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, Davy Thompson challenged Jeff Wright to end his unrealistic and destructive demands and put the interests of his workforce and the wider community in Ballymena first.
“It is our understanding that the offer put forward by Ryse (Bamford) remains open and on the table if the current landowner is willing to do a deal.
“This ongoing saga surrounding the sale of Wrightbus will come to a catastrophic conclusion for workers and the economy of north Antrim unless rational thinking overtakes personal gain. The big question now is whether Jeff Wright is prepared to put his father’s legacy and reputation amongst the people of Ballymena at risk.
“Dr William Wright is quite rightly regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s leading visionaries; a man who embraced progressive developments over many decades to ensure environmental concerns were at the forefront of technological advancements.
“Unfortunately the unrealistic demands by his son with regard to the sale of the Ballymena manufacturing site, pivotal to the safeguarding of many hundreds of jobs, will leave a bitter taste to the local community which has shown immense loyalty to the Wright family since the 1940s.
“If there is no compromise from Jeff Wright, the family name will be remembered by the local community in the same vein as JTI and Michelin the other blue chip companies that recently deserted the very people that made their brands global industry icons.
“There is a need for action from government as well. In the absence of Stormont the Permanent Secretary Noel Lavery needs to step up to the plate and ensure that both outgoing Invest NI CEO Alistair Hamilton and his replacement Kevin Holland leave no stone unturned in the quest to safeguard the future of this workforce. The reality is that if this was a start up foreign investor everything would be done to ensure its success. This deal offers a new company, effectively a start up and all support that can be given should be given“, Mr Thompson said.