Double blow for manufacturing sector

Posted on 10 Nov 2017 and read 237 times
Double blow for manufacturing sectorNorthern Ireland’s manufacturing sector is set lose as many as 500 jobs at two prominent companies, following redundancy announcements made on the same day.

Bombardier has confirmed that it is to cut “around 280” jobs in east Belfast, while trade union Unite has reported that more than 220 jobs are set to be lost at oil and gas supply firm Schlumberger through the closure of its Newtownabbey plant.

In a company statement, Bombardier said that its staff reductions are in addition to the 7,500 job cuts world-wide announced last October.

“We continue to review our manpower requirements in Belfast and regret to confirm that we must reduce our workforce levels by around 280.” The company has not ruled out further redundancies in the future.

The job losses came just a month after the management announced 95 redundancies — and a week after European aircraft manufacturer Airbus acquired a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-Series aircraft programme, lifting some of the pressure on around 1,000 workers at Queen’s Island who work on making the wings.

Meanwhile, Schlumberger has had a base in Northern Ireland for almost 60 years, but Unite said the management has now taken the decision to close the Newtownabbey site.

Unite regional industrial officer Susie Fitzgerald said: “We are concerned that the company’s global corporate management are attempting to use the downturn in the oil and gas sector as cover to further out-source jobs to low-cost alternative locations.

“If so, we will be rejecting their logic. Our objective remains to avoid closure and to save the maximum number of jobs possible.”

In the wake of the job losses in Belfast and Newtownabbey, Unite urged the UK Government to intervene and bring forward an effective industrial strategy for Northern Ireland.

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