Bombardier workers reject pay freeze proposal


Workers at Bombardier in Belfast have rejected management proposals to freeze their pay as part of cost-saving measures.

As well as a two-year pay freeze, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer had proposed that staff work an extra hour on Fridays during that time-frame.

The company, which employs around 5,500 people at its east Belfast factory, had stressed a business necessity of cutting costs by 20% by 2017.

The pay proposals were overwhelmingly rejected in a ballot of workers represented by the union Unite, with 88% voting against.

Unite, which represents the majority of the workforce, said it would seek “urgent discussions” with employers.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Davy Thompson said: “Unite negotiators were asked to ballot on a pay offer from management which would seek cuts to workers’ terms and conditions and leave them dependent on a performance-related bonus for an improvement in their incomes.

“The union did not try to influence its members in regard to the offer but our representatives in the workforce presented it to them on the grounds outlined by management.

“While we recognise that Bombardier faces exceptional cash-flow pressures, the membership of Unite has exercised their democratic right in relation to this offer. We will now seek to engage with management in order to progress this matter further.”

A spokeswoman for Bombardier said: “The company very much regrets that the offer it tabled aimed at cutting costs and contributing to the competitiveness of our Northern Ireland operations was not accepted by the workforce.

“It is vital that we reduce our costs significantly if we are to sustain our business here and ultimately protect jobs in the long term. The company remains open to engaging with the trade unions in order to find a resolution. We will continue to look at measures to reduce our costs and improve our competitiveness.”