Northern Ireland news

Thousands of Belfast jobs safe as Bombardier wins trade dispute with US

The US wanted to impose tariffs of 292 per cent on Bombardier's imports to America
Arj Singh

AIRCRAFT manufacturer Bombardier has won its case against US proposals to impose tariffs of 292 per cent on its imports to America in a move which should safeguard thousands of jobs in Belfast.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said rival manufacturer Boeing did not suffer injury from Atlanta-based Delta Airlines' order of Bombardier's C Series passenger jets.

The C Series wings are produced in Belfast and workers reacted with jubilation to the news.

Bombardier said in a statement: "Today's decision is a victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law. It is also a victory for US airlines and the US travelling public.

"The C Series is the most innovative and efficient new aircraft in a generation.

"Its development and production represent thousands of jobs in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

"We are extremely proud of our employees, investors and suppliers who have worked together to bring this remarkable aircraft to the market.

"With this matter behind us, we are moving full speed ahead with finalising our partnership with Airbus.

"Integration planning is going well and we look forward to delivering the C Series to the US market so that US airlines and the US flying public can enjoy the many benefits of this remarkable aircraft."

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, said: "Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland and throughout the supply chain in UK will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the International Trade Commission has seen through Boeing's baseless complaint."

"When the going got tough Unite did not throw the towel in. Our members and shop stewards redoubled their efforts in bringing pressure to bear on politicians in Washington, Westminster, Brussels and Northern Ireland.

"The C Series is a world-beating aircraft made by world-class workers. There can be no backsliding from the US government on this decision.

"Unite looks forward to continuing to work with Bombardier to secure future sales and investment to ensure a bright future for Northern Ireland workers and the thousands across the UK in the supply chain."

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite regional officer for the union's membership at Bombardier in Northern Ireland, said: "When the story is told of this dispute it will be one of how, in the absence of a genuine effort by politicians and the UK government, workers themselves had to take the fight on."

She added: "Bombardier itself now must reiterate its commitment to the Northern Ireland workforce and end the outsourcing of jobs to low-cost centres."

Gavin Robinson, the DUP MP for East Belfast, welcomed the ruling.

“This is fantastic news for Bombardier and particularly for the firm’s 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland and the many more who form part of the supply chain here.  This has been a very difficult time for those staff who faced an uncertain future. Even in recent days there some pessimism had grown, but Bombardier’s greatest strength here in Belfast is the quality of those workers and the product they deliver," he said.

"Right from the outset management have worked tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome and I would pay tribute to their fortitude throughout this process. Whilst the joint venture with Airbus was a very significant development and offered great hope, this news means that the C-Series is fully ready for take-off and I firmly believe it can now maximise its huge potential.”

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