Council backs Unite campaign for Bombardier jobs

Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has backed a Unite the Union campaign for jobs at aerospace firm Bombardier.

During last's night's meeting of the local government authority, members agreed to support the retention of jobs at the company’s five sites in Northern Ireland.

Approval was given to a motion from a Unite official, which proposed the council write to the Prime Minister and EU Trade Commissioner.

The motion read: "It is proposed to write directly to Prime Minister Theresa May MP to request that the government make it known to Boeing that if they do not withdraw their case, then they will be excluding themselves from UK procurement opportunities both current and future.

"It is further resolved to write to the European Trade Commissioner to request an immediate escalation through existing trade dispute mechanisms."

The company employs 552 people in Mid and East Antrim alone, many of whom have families, members heard.

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Industrial Officer said: “Last night’s unanimous support from the councillors was a powerful boost to the workforce. More than four thousand jobs are at risk from the punitive 300 percent tariffs threatened to be levied on Bombardier’s C Series by the protectionist Trump administration.

“Import surcharges on this scale pose an existential threat to Bombardier and the loss of jobs on this scale would be devastating for the Northern Ireland economy – affecting every single council area in the region. More than 550 Bombardier workers live in Mid & East Antrim and two major suppliers, Aerospace Metal Finishers Ltd and Dontaur Engineering Ltd, are based in Ballymena.

“Despite Airbus’ recent acquisition of a majority stake in the C Series programme there are absolutely no guarantees for local jobs should these tariffs be imposed. That’s why we need to see urgent action taken by the Prime Minister and EU Trade Commissioner.

“The UK is the second biggest export market for Boeing, the US competitor who demanded these tariffs be imposed. The Prime Minister must use this leverage to demand they drop their baseless case threatening Bombardier jobs. The EU also has a role to play in defence of the Bombardier workers.

“Last night, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council unanimously agreed to write to both Prime Minister and EU Trade Commissioner to demand they take real action. This is now the second council to endorse the campaign demands following on from a vote at Ards and North Down in October.

“Unite will be taking our motion out to all eleven councils, three more in the next month – we are not going to let up until we secure the action needed to safeguard these jobs."