Bombardier announces plans to sell up in Northern Ireland

  • Aerospace tech firm Bombardier has announced that it's planning to sell up its Northern Ireland operations, a move that may have a direct impact on thousands of jobs.

    Over 3,600 staff are currently employed by Bombardier across Northern Ireland, with facilities located in Belfast, Dunmurry, Newtownabbey, and Newtownards. The past six months have seen one disaster after another for employees in the region, starting with the announcement of 490 NI job cuts at the end of November last year.

    The layoffs went ahead despite 2018 being a record year for new aircraft sales and a significant £1bn Airbus order being placed in January. At the end of January, Airbus CEO Tom Enders then issued a video statement indicating that the company could leave the UK in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, saying "If there’s a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK."

    Trade union Unite was considering planned strike action earlier this month in response to repeated redundancy announcements with no clarity on what the company's future plans were for Northern Ireland. Bombardier's Northern Ireland employment has halved since 2014, with layoffs every year from 2015 onward threatening the sustainability of operations.

    Now the company has announced that it will be selling its operations in Morrocco and Northern Ireland to consolidate its aerospace assets into a "single, streamlined and fully integrated business." No buyer has been found, but the company is now on the market. Trade union Unite is said to be furious at the announcement, reportedly confirming that workers won't even told about the sale until 10.45 that day and had to find out about it through social media.

    Source: BBC News, The Guardian, Image ©Ardfern

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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