Regional Secretary of Unite, Jackie Pollock, seeks urgent meeting with Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill on response to Aerospace crisis

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Jackie Pollock, Unite Regional Secretary

Union says that future of this vital pillar of Northern Ireland economy hangs in the balance

Government must enforce transition to higher fuel economy aeroplanes to stimulate demand and stabilise employment

Unite the union Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock writes to First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill seeking an urgent meeting on threat to vital Aerospace sector.

“Today Bombardier announced that 600 Aerospace workers in Northern Ireland will lose their livelihoods. Only a week ago, 500 aerospace workers lost their jobs in Thompson Aero Seating and the same company previously laid-off 430 workers in March.

“Aerospace jobs are high-value added, unionised jobs; they are not easily replaced and they have a vital role in our economy. Between direct and indirect employment, the sector accounts for 10,000 jobs in Northern Ireland and 1.2 million in the UK, which is a global leader in the industry. In terms of exports, Aerospace is even more significant for Northern Ireland; it’s output is valued at £1.9 billion a year. The industry is a pillar of our economy but its future hangs in the balance as order books have collapsed on the back of the Covid-19 shutdown.

“There is need for decisive and urgent action by government both regionally and nationally. The French government has taken the initiative and brought forward a €16 billion intervention to protect French aerospace and aviation skills and jobs, while also delivering on climate change commitments. Significant investment alongside moves to enforcing a transition to higher fuel economy planes will significantly stimulate demand and sustain jobs while helping lower emissions of greenhouse gases.  

“This is precisely the sort of intervention we need to see and quickly from the UK government and NI Executive. Unless a support package is brought forward soon, including measures such as an aircraft scrappage scheme, then thousands of jobs will be lost and Northern Ireland will lose its standing as a global leader in aerospace. I have written to the First and deputy First Ministers jointly seeking an urgent meeting and will seek action from them to defend Aerospace workers’ jobs and the future of the sector”, Mr Pollock concluded.

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