The decision to axe hundreds upon hundreds of jobs with an engineering firm has been described as a “hammer blow” for the Province.
Roughly 1,000 jobs could be lost at aerospace business Bombardier’s Belfast divison over the next two years as the firm pursues further swingeing cost-cutting measures.
Up to 7,000 posts are expected to go across the Canadian-owned firm’s operations as the C-Series passenger aircraft project continues to drain resources – even as it announced an order for 75 CS300 aircraft from Air Canada.
In Belfast, the firm said it intends to cut 580 staff this year with another 500 expected to go in 2017 as it attempts to “optimise” the workforce – see full statement from firm.
It has also led to a fresh suggestion that the Province’s trade minister should quit.
Unite the union said it was a “hammer blow” for manufacturing, adding: “Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector. While the scale of the losses reflect the severe market conditions being experienced by the group which has led to over seven thousand job losses globally, heavy manufacturers across the region continue to face challenging times.
“The Northern Ireland Executive needs to redouble their efforts and secure alternative employment for those highly skilled workers who will be made redundant. Invest NI must now commit themselves fully to proactively seeking foreign investment in manufacturing.
Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the news was “hard to hear” even though the reasoning behind it was understandable.
“Today’s news will be very upsetting to those working for the company, and their families,” he said.
“While we were fully aware that Bombardier intended to make cost reductions across its global business, the news of 7,000 jobs, 1,080 in Northern Ireland, is much greater than anticipated.
“While Bombardier feels this ‘right-sizing’ is essential for the business market as it stands today, its announcement of a new order of 75 CS300 aircraft by Air Canada is a positive development and I have every confidence that its commitment to the CSeries project will see the company’s presence in Belfast rebuild for the future.”