Posted on Wednesday 17 February 2016 by Ulster Business
Bombardier has reiterated its commitment to keep its Belfast despite announcing swingeing job cuts which could see as many as 1,000 staff laid off.
Enterprise minister Jonathan Bell said the Canadian aircraft maker has “reaffirmed its commitment to the CSeries project and Belfast’s critical role in its delivery” in response to the news.
Part of a global restructuring project which will see 7,000 jobs lost, the cuts in Belfast will see 200 permanent employees made redundant this year while 380 contractors – part of its so-called complimentary workforce – will also go.
In addition, Bombardier said another 500 posts are expected to be cut next year.
Behind the move is a slim order book for the aircraft maker’s new C-Series, a narrow-bodied, mid-sized passenger jet which is partly made at the Belfast plant.
Mr Bell released a statement shortly after the news was released from Bombardier which said the decision to cut staff was made to ensure the base remained viable.
“While today’s news is deeply disappointing, Bombardier Inc has made it clear that the decision has been taken to safeguard the company’s long term future globally and here in Northern Ireland,” he said. “I want to assure the affected staff that, together with Invest NI, the Department for Employment and Learning, and colleagues in the entire Northern Ireland Executive, we will do all that is possible to limit the impact of the redundancies and help with possible retraining.”
The minister also revealed that between 2002 and 2015, Invest NI offered £75m of assistance to Bombardier, including £21m for the CSeries, in support of investment commitments totalling £844.5m.
Much will now depend on the future fortunes of the C-Series but it’s notable that amidst the news of the global cuts, Bombardier was also able to report a new order for 75 of the CS300 aircraft.
Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, said the cuts are a shame.
“We have listened to the company’s reasoning for this difficult decision and, while it is hard to hear, we understand why it has had to make this choice.
“While Bombardier feels this ‘right-sizing’ is essential for the business market as it stands today, its announcement of a new order of 75 CS300 aircraft by Air Canada is a positive development and I have every confidence that its commitment to the CSeries project will see the company’s presence in Belfast rebuild for the future.”