The uncertainty which hangs over the future of a large number of jobs at Caterpillar plants in Northern Ireland further underlines the urgent need for an inclusive economic summit to address investment, skills and training and job creation and retention.
The anticipated job loses at Caterpillar come in the wake of lay offs at Michelin, JTI Gallahers and Bombardier.
It is clear that the Assembly has no viable economic plan or job creation programme to secure existing jobs and expand the economy.
Not only must jobs be secured and defended but the skills that go with them must be protected and retained in Northern Ireland.
Economic Summit It is now time for an inclusive Economic Summit involving the Northern Ireland Executive , the trade union movement, employers and broader civic society to address and develop an economic and job creation plan for Northern Ireland.
The alternative offered by the Assembly is to sit on its hands and watch jobs, skills and manufacturing know-how haemorrhage away’
Investment, manufacturing and job creation will not happen by chance. Nor can people rely on the private sector to provide the secure future that is required. The Assembly has a major responsibility and a political obligation to present a co-ordinated strategic investment programme designed to address the current situation and lay the ground work for future recovery.