Business

Ballymena manufucturing giant Wrightbus imposes recruitment freeze

Wrightbus boss William Wright was one of the few Northern Ireland business leaders to openly back Brexit
Andrew Madden

WRIGHTBUS, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturers, has said it is imposing an employment freeze with immediate effect.

In a memo, group directors also warned that changes to the company could be expected in the coming weeks.

“Wright Group is facing a number of challenges in both the local and overseas markets,” they said.

“[We] will be required, over the coming weeks, to implement changes to the organisational structure in order to drive increased efficiencies and reduce operating costs throughout the company.

“As a result, we will be suspending all recruitment with immediate effect.”

Wrightbus builds buses and coaches, exporting all over the world and employs nearly 2,000 people at its base in Ballymena.

The news is just the latest dark cloud to loom over Ballymena’s manufacturing sector in recent months, with keystone companies JTI Gallaher and Michelin both announcing the closure of their operations, resulting in the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Wrightbus, however seemed to be coping with the tumultuous economic climate in recent months, announcing the securing of a £62m contract with Transport for London in March and a £20m deal with UK transport company First Group in April.

In its most recent set of available results, for the 15 months to December 2014, the company made a turnover of £297m and nearly tripled its pre-tax profits from the previous year, making £14.5m.

Wrightbus was founded in 1946 and current boss William Wright was one the few Northern Ireland business leaders to openly call for the UK to leave the EU in the run up to June’s referendum.

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