GMB Bombardier staff meet Labour over Boeing’s ‘attack’

The Government must be made to intervene solidly behind Bombardier says the union
The Government must be made to intervene solidly behind Bombardier says the union

GMB union members from Bombardier have travelled to London to lobby for support in the battle between their Canadian employer and the US giant Boeing.

Workers from the Belfast division where the wings for the CSeries aircraft are made, met met Shadow Secretary of State Owen Smith to press for more action over the threat to the firm from trade tarrifs imposed on the the firm in relation to a deal for the CSeries with US airline Delta.

The meeting comes amid fears at national level that this may be a blueprint for future UK trade deals with the US post-Brexit

Bombardier was hit with punitive tariffs by US President Donald Trump’s administration after a complaint from multi-billion rival firm Boeing that it has engaged in anti-competitive practices over the CSeries was upheld.

The firm now faces an additional 80% penalty tariff — taking it from 220% to 300% — which will slap an additional 15 million dollars on the cost of each C series plane sold to Delta Airlines in the US.

There are more than 4,200 workers at the Bombardier site in Belfast - with around 1,000 working directly on the CSeries.

The union said the threat of further job losses as a result of uncertainty risked having a ‘domino effect’ on the Northern Ireland economy.

“Our members are concerned about the sustained attack on the Bombardier by Boeing and how this could affect their future employment,” said regional organiser Michael Mulholland prior to the meeting.

“GMB’s delegation will speak directly to Mr Smith about what action has taken place since the Leaders’ speech at Labour conference and what has happened at party level to lobby both the Conservative Government and the Trump Administration.

“Members are also keen to know what plans Labour has to apply political leverage on Boeing and what has been done about this to date.

“Fears are running high that this may be a blueprint for future UK trade deals with the US post-Brexit.

“The Conservative Government have failed to offer any leadership on this issue and Brexit as a whole - Theresa May should step up to the challenge and give Bombardier workers the reassurances they deserve.”