Business

Bombardier cuts 95 staff at Belfast base

Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier has confirmed up to 95 staff are be made redundant in Belfast
Gareth McKeown

PLANE-maker Bombardier has confirmed up to 95 staff are to be made redundant in Belfast as part of ongoing global plans to reduce the company's workforce.

The Canadian-owned firm announced in October plans to cut 7,500 jobs worldwide and the latest development is in the keeping with Bombardier's ongoing work to improve its competitiveness in the industry and save $300 million by 2018.

The aerospace giant has also faced difficulties in recent years as a result of delays to its flagship CSeries programme

Last year, Bombardier said it was cutting 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland, around a fifth of its workforce here.

The latest announcement is not linked to the ongoing dispute with Boeing, but rather is believed to centre on the outsourcing of IT services.

In a statement on Thursday the company said:

"Following the 7,500 global workforce reductions announced by Bombardier Inc. last October, we have reviewed our manpower requirements in Belfast and regret to confirm that we must reduce our workforce levels by up to 95."

The company said it will "explore opportunities to help mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies", but will "continue to cut costs and improve the efficiency of our operations to help ensure our long-term competitiveness".

Managers and professional support staff will be affected by the cuts.

Davy Thompson, Unite union's regional officer, said he was disappointed.

"This is another blow to the Bombardier workforce in Belfast and comes in the wake of wider concerns over the ongoing trade dispute with Boeing.

"The rationale offered by management is that this has been brought about by the outsourcing of IT and the need to reduce staff in functional areas.

"We do not agree with their case and we are calling on them to lift the threat of redundancies at this time."

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said the loss of the jobs was a "huge blow".

"Whilst these jobs are part of the previously announced redundancies, the final announcement is still a huge blow, not least for those families who will be directly impacted."

Bombardier, which employs almost 5,000 people in Belfast and accounts for 10 per cent of the region's manufacturing exports, is facing significant costs in the fallout with US aeronautics powerhouse Boeing.

The dispute centres over Boeing's allegations that Bombardier received subsidies allowing it to sell its C Series planes at below-market prices.

The US Department of Commerce is expected to announce a decision on whether to impose duties against Bombardier on September 25.

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