Coronavirus: Fresh jobs fears at Bombardier and car dealer Charles Hurst

Bombardier carrying out a review within its operation in Belfast as its parent group moves to shed 2,500 jobs from its global aviation division. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Ryan McAleer

THERE were fresh fears for Covid-19 linked redundancies across the north on Friday after the parent owners of Bombardier and Charles Hurst both confirmed plans to cut jobs.

Bombardier Belfast’s Canadian owners said it had "made the difficult decision" to reduce the global workforce of its aviation wing by around 2,500 employees.

Most of the job losses at aerospace specialist Bombardier are expected to be made in Canada and Mexico. Some reports from Canada yesterday suggested that just a few dozen of jobs may be lost in its overseas operations, including Northern Ireland.

The company the adjustment is necessary to align with current market conditions reflecting the extraordinary industry interruptions and challenges caused by Covid-19.

And a spokesman for its Belfast operation warned: "In light of this, we are now reviewing requirements for our Northern Ireland operations for all our aircraft programmes.

"We will communicate any impact in due course, and we have no announcement to make at this time.”

Bombardier currently employs around 3,300 permanent staff across five sites in the north. Six years ago its workforce here stood at 5,000.

The Northern Ireland operation is due to become part of the Kansas-based Spirit Aerosystems group this year.

Covid-19’s impact on the global aviation industry was further illustrated on Thursday when aircraft seat-maker Thompson Aero Seating announced it intends to shed 40 per cent of its workforce in – around 500 jobs – in Craigavon and Banbridge.

Manufacturing NI boss Stephen Kelly has warned that a combination of the closure of the UK Government’s furlough scheme on June 10 and local employment laws mean it’s likely many similar announcements will be made in the coming weeks

Car group Charles Hurst’s parent owner Lookers PLC announced it wants to cull 1,500 jobs across the group, equivalent to 20 per cent of its workforce of 8,100. Lookers also said it will close 12 showrooms at struggling dealerships in a bid to cut around £50m a year in costs.

It’s unclear how many jobs are at risk within Charles Hurst’s operation.

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