Call for PM to protect jobs

Bombardier.
Bombardier.

Local political and union representatives have called on the Prime Minister to fight to save jobs across the Bombardier sites in Northern Ireland.

Elected representatives at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council voiced their support for a motion calling for Theresa May to protect the jobs of Bombardier employees.

The motion, which was discussed at the monthly meeting on November 27, was proposed by DUP representative, Ald John Smyth and seconded by UUP representative, Cllr Jim Montgomery.

The motion stated: “We express our profound concern at the threat posed to these jobs by the recent protectionist judgements by the US International Trade Commission which effectively placed a 300 per cent surcharge on the C Series aircraft in an attempt to close the US market; it is resolved to express our full solidarity with the workforce and company at this time of trial and propose to write directly to the Prime Minister Theresa May MP to request that the government make it known to Boeing that if they do not withdraw their case then they will be excluding themselves from UK procurement opportunities both current and future; it is further resolved to write to the European Trade Commissioner to request an immediate escalation through existing trade disputes mechanisms.”

In a statement issued to the Times after the motion passed, Cllr Montgomery said: “In bringing this motion forward the council has made it clear that our government should affect procurement possibilities for US companies if the surcharge is implemented. If the US government want to get protectionist, then so should we.

“We cannot just sit back and be walked over- we need to protect the jobs of our people.

“With the failure of MLA’s to run Northern Ireland properly, it is up to the council to address these issues to the Prime Minister so that Mrs May is in no doubt that the politicians who are working in Northern Ireland expect her to oppose the threatened actions of the US government and protect the jobs of Bombardier employees.”

No recorded vote was needed on the motion as it received unanimous support from across the council chamber.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “Council will formally write to the Prime Minister Theresa May MP.”

Speaking to the Times following the unanimous support for the motion, Ald Smyth said: “I’m pleased that the motion received cross-party backing. This is an issue that could impact on people from all over Northern Ireland.

“The motion received an excellent response, but it is unfortunate that we had to bring this motion to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on behalf of the Bombardier workers. Our workers are among the best in the world and I will continue to support them.”