Tuesday 17 July 2018

Bombardier workers to press for Government action to help secure jobs

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Alan Jones

Workers from plane manufacturer Bombardier will press for Government action on Wednesday to help secure their jobs in the face of the trade dispute with the United States.

Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 workers in Belfast, has been hit by a proposed 80pc levy on exports following complaints by Boeing that the Canadian-owned company had dumped its C Series jets at "absurdly low" prices.

Business Secretary Greg Clark has told MPs the complaint brought by Boeing was completely unjustified and the UK would do everything it could to see the issue resolved.

As part of those efforts, on Tuesday evening Theresa May stressed in a phone call with US president Donald Trump "the importance of the jobs provided by the Bombardier factory to the people and economy of Northern Ireland".

Workers will travel from Belfast and unveil a giant banner outside Parliament urging MPs from all parties to defend Bombardier jobs.

They want the Prime Minister to summon Boeing to a summit with the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and workforce representatives.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: "The British government has a duty to defend UK manufacturing jobs against the bullying behaviour of Boeing.

"A failure to do so will signal that any ambition ministers have for a coherent industrial strategy is effectively in tatters and that they are happy to put Trump's America First policy ahead of UK manufacturing jobs.

"Boeing's case is without merit, a fact that prime minster Theresa May has herself admitted. Theresa May and her government need to be battling for Northern Ireland's Bombardier workforce which makes some of the most technologically advanced wings in the world.

"The UK Government must heed the call of Bombardier's Northern Ireland workers and summon Boeing to an urgent summit involving prime minister Theresa May and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and trade unions.

"Ministers should leave Boeing in no doubt that a failure to do so will lead to sanctions on current and future work on behalf of the UK Government."

Ross Murdoch, national officer of the GMB union, said: "The Government needs to go beyond fluffy words about everyone uniting and telephone calls from Theresa May to Donald Trump.

"On the basis the US president has refused to intervene, perhaps the relationship is not so special after all.

"The priority here must be about giving reassurances and certainty to Bombardier workers now.

"The Government needs to use whatever influence it believes it has to get Boeing to back off immediately.

"Bombardier employees shouldn't be left in limbo until an International Trade Commission hearing, which most likely won't be heard until February."

Press Association

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