Bombardier: key industries should be in public ownership

The Executive must intervene to save jobs, skills and future opportunities

The Workers Party has called for an immediate and sustained intervention by the Northern Ireland Executive to save jobs and secure associated skills, in the local aerospace industry.

The Party warned recently that the Covid-19 pandemic would be used by large companies to the detriment of workers. Bombardier Aerospace is the largest manufacturing company in Northern Ireland and one of the largest private sector employers with an estimated 300 local firms acting as direct suppliers to the business.

However, it is only days since the Canadian government signed a $105-million contract with Bombardier and now it has been announced  that it has plans to axe up to 600 jobs here. These latest layoffs follow the announcement of possible redundancies of up to 500 staff at Thompsons Aero Seating which is owned by one of the world’s largest aerospace companies.  

There must be an immediate intervention in the form of a taskforce to secure jobs, provide a future for the industry and to retain skills and apprenticeship opportunities, the Party said

Here is an opportunity to secure the future of the industry, maintain local skills and save the many jobs and firms which rely on Bombardier and Thompsons.

Although the Executive has a poor record on the creation of sustainable employment, failure to intervene immediately to protect workers’ jobs will undoubtedly lead to the collapse of aerospace production in Northern Ireland, with manufacturing moving elsewhere, and generations of experience, skills and know-how being lost forever.

Key industries of this nature should be taken into public ownership to preserve an industrial base.

In the meantime, however, an immediate injection of financial support for the aerospace industry would not only provide stability and job security, but could be a springboard for innovative research and development into new and greener technologies – with the opportunity to place the local aerospace sector as world leaders.

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