Almost 100 extra jobs are to be lost this year after Bombardier Aerospace confirmed it had brought forward its redundancies programme in the province.
A total of 95 posts are likely to be affected as part of a global restructuring programme to shed more than 1,000 jobs roles over two years; about a fifth of the Belfast division’s local workforce.
The Canadian multinational has been under financial pressure and invested large sums in its new C Series jet which is crucial to many jobs in Belfast.
“We have advised our employees that, having reviewed our requirements, unfortunately we need to pull forward to this year more of the workforce reductions that were expected to take place during 2017,” said a spokeswoman.
“The overall figure of 1,080 over 2016 and 2017 that we announced in February as part of Bombardier’s global restructuring has not changed.
“However, we now expect up to another 95 employees will leave the company this year instead of next, in addition to the ongoing reduction of contractors and agency workers.”
She said the firm was doing what it could to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.
“However, we must continue to evaluate every opportunity to significantly reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness, in order to help secure our long-term future.”
Davy Thompson, regional coordinating officer for union Unite, called for a government manufacturing strategy.
“The heavy manufacturing sector has been decimated by three major closures in the Belfast and Ballymena areas and we have witnessed a drip feed of redundancies in Bombardier (Shorts), Caterpillar (FG Wilson) and most recently at DuPont site in the North West.
“These losses now amount to thousands of direct and indirect job losses.
“We have heard all the nice words from Stormont and can expect more of the same again today but we continue to wait for them to announce what plans they have to support this vital sector.”
Andy Allen, Ulster Unionist assembly member for East Belfast, said the firm played a vital role in sustaining the local economy.
“Just over six weeks ago we were welcoming confirmation of an Air Canada order to purchase 45 C Series 300 airplanes from Bombardier with an option for an additional 30 and the timely boost that this was giving to our manufacturing sector.
“Today we have learned tha“The Executive, and in particular the Department for the Economy and Invest NI need to take ownership of the situation as it affects Northern Ireland, do all in their power to help minimise the impact of this announcement and show it understands the need to have a long term plan for the economy, particularly manufacturing.”