More than 1,000 jobs are to be shed at the Bombardier aircraft manufacturer this year in Belfast as the firm plans to accelerate proposed cuts, a union leader has claimed.
The Canadian-owned firm plans to complete its 1,080 redundancy programme this year instead of next said Unite regional co-ordinating officer Davy Thompson.
The aerospace company said in February it was axing the posts - about a fifth of its Northern Ireland workforce - over two years as part of global restructuring.
“Bombardier’s announcement will mean that all 1,080 redundancies planned over a two-year period will now happen in the current year; 200 more workers will receive redundancy in the months to come.
“This decision has been made against a backdrop where the company’s corporate management are seeking an additional 7,500 job losses globally.”
While the news was disappointing, Mr Thompson sais there was a recognition that it reflected the desire of local management to sustain more operations in Belfast for the long-term.
However in the wake of Wednesday’s announcement of 300 proposed job losses at the fomer Chain Reaction, he said the UK Government must provide special globalisation adjustment funding to support Northern Ireland workers affected by large-scale redundancies.
“Elsewhere in Europe, workforces impacted by redundancy decisions affecting more than 500 workers are eligible to draw down funding for retraining, re-skilling and local economic development from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).
“In the eight years to the end of 2014, 561 million euro was drawn down for 134 applications under this fund but the UK government has never drawn down a penny.
“The Government claims that the fund does not represent good ‘value-for-money’ and that making an application might threaten the UK’s rebate.”
In a statement from the Belfast division Bombarder said it had advised employees that it was initiating the process to conclude the planned workforce reduction originally announced in February.
“ We now expect to complete the release of those impacted within our Belfast workforce within the next few months.”
The statement added: “This is a very difficult and challenging time for all our workforce and their families, but it is crucial to our long-term future that we continue to significantly reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness. We will continue to explore ways to mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies in relation to the completion of this workforce reduction’.