Welcome for announced state investment to expand Wrightbus production of hydrogen-powered buses

Expanded production at Ballymena bus builder comes only two years after workers had to mobilise to keep doors open

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

Success for Northern Ireland manufacturing confirms vital capacity of sector to build a greener and cleaner economy 

Unite Regional Officer, George Brash, welcomed today’s announcement that Wrightbus in Ballymena would be one of three beneficiaries for state funding to produce hydrogen-powered buses.

Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the skills of this workforce and indeed that of manufacturing workers in Northern Ireland. Wrightbus will receive £11.2 million under the Westminster government’s ‘Build back better’ plans to build next generation hydrogen-powered buses. 

“It’s a moment to recall the fight of the Wrightbus workforce two years ago when they were forced to mobilise to keep the doors of this factory open. Without that successful campaign we wouldn’t be in this position today. The company has recently launched another recruitment drive bringing the workforce to one thousand with the stated aim of employing a further three thousand over the coming decade.

“Today’s announcement confirms that Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector can succeed despite the failure of Stormont to bring forward a dedicated growth strategy for the sector. Northern Ireland manufacturing is world-class – a status rooted in the sector’s robust skills base. Those skills are a perfect fit to build the technologies needed for a greener and cleaner tomorrow. It is a matter of some pride to our union that hydrogen-powered buses now being built by our members in Northern Ireland and are being driven by our members working for Translink and the Education Authority.

“Unite will continue to engage with Wrightbus management to ensure that all jobs created are paid at a rate reflecting the high-value added work involved. We also want to see investment in quality apprenticeships to ensure a new generation enters the labour force with the skills needed to assure manufacturing of continued success into the future”, Mr Brash said.

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