Northern Ireland news

Belfast Bombardier workers to lobby MPs

Bombardier workers are to meet MPs at the House of Commons today

BOMBARDIER workers are to meet MPs at the House of Commons today amid fears of job losses in Belfast.

The US government last week announced an import tax of 80% on the company's new C-Series jets, on top of a 220% tariff already set.

It follows a complaint by Boeing that its Canadian rival had received subsidies from the Canadian and British governments.

The decision is threatening to derail a major contract with Delta Airlines – and jeopardising jobs at Bombardier's Belfast plant, which employs more than 4,000 people and builds the wings for the aircraft.

A delegation of workers will today unveil a giant banner outside parliament urging MPs from all parties to defend Bombardier jobs.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the British government had a duty to defend manufacturing.

"A failure to do so will signal that any ambition ministers have for a coherent industrial strategy is effectively in tatters and that they are happy to put (Donald) Trump's `America First' policy ahead of UK manufacturing jobs," he said.

"The UK government must heed the call of Bombardier's Northern Ireland workers and summon Boeing to an urgent summit involving prime minister Theresa May and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and trade unions."

Yesterday, British business secretary Greg Clark pledged that the government would not relent in its efforts to safeguard jobs.

Speaking in the Commons he said: "We will continue to vigorously and robustly defend Bombardier jobs in Belfast and work with the Canadian government to do so.

"We will not give up... we will do whatever it takes... we will not relent until these jobs are safe."

However, the shadow business secretary, Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey, said she feared Bombardier and its workers "are considered a fair price to pay for a post-Brexit trade deal with President Trump by this Conservative government".

The DUP's Nigel Dodds told MPs the entire house should "unite behind the workforce".

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