Bombardier: Latest job losses highlight need for NI rescue strategy

Unite logo white out of redUnite warns that further drop in output and household spending will impede post-Covid recovery

Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock says union will not tolerate “stealth shedding” of jobs

August 18th:  Unite has said that the news that Bombardier is looking to shed a further 95 jobs comes as a further blow to a workforce which has already suffered the loss of approximately 600 permanent and agency jobs as a result of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the aviation and aerospace sectors.  The union today (Tuesday) reiterated its call for a Northern Ireland rescue strategy combined with a UK-wide aerospace taskforce to save this critical industry.

At the beginning of July, Unite published research showing that aerospace job losses up to that point were already estimated to have lowered output throughout the UK by £500 million and reduced household spending by £50 million.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock said that additional job losses flagged by Bombardier today were unnecessary and that the focus instead should be on seeking sectoral support and resources for the sector.  Mr Pollock also warned employers in the sector not to use the crisis to engage in what he termed “stealth shedding of jobs”.

“Pre-Covid, Northern Ireland’s aerospace cluster comprised 220 companies employing around 10,000 people. That means that despite having just 2.8 per cent of the UK’s population, Northern Ireland is home to over 8 per cent of the UK’s aerospace companies and 10 per cent of aerospace employment. The sector directly generates £1bn in output (gross value-added) annually and contributes more than £2bn to Northern Ireland’s entire manufacturing output.

“Workers in Bombardier are extremely concerned that, rather than focusing on exerting pressure on both Stormont and Westminster for increased supports for this critical industry – including extensions to the furlough scheme – employers are using the crisis as an excuse to reduce workforce numbers through a series of redundancies.  Such stealth shedding of jobs will not be tolerated”.

“Politicians in both Stormont and Westminster must now focus on devising a rescue strategy for Northern Ireland combined with a UK-wide aerospace taskforce to ensure that, rather than being weakened, the sector is in pole position to drive our recovery post-Covid”, Mr Pollock concluded.

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