Ulster Unionist Party Economy spokesperson, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has accused the Stormont Executive of complacency in the wake of the announcement of more large scale job losses in the local manufacturing sector, this time at Caterpillar.
Steve Aiken said:
"Whilst fluctuations in the global market for products is not something that the Stormont Executive can be blamed for, where they do stand accused, is over the consistently complacent attitude they have shown in the face of a series of devastating job losses in the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland over the past year.
"The bare minimum the DUP/Sinn Fein Executive could have done is show that it has a plan or strategy for sustaining, maintaining and expanding our industrial base. None has been forthcoming. Instead we have had glib statements from successive Ministers basically telling the people that they have never had it so good. This is in the face of a series of redundancies from JTI/ Gallahers, Bombardier, Michelin, and now Caterpillar.
"The people who are losing their jobs do not need more cliché filled statements of sympathy from politicians; they need to be shown that Stormont actually has a clue and a plan for what to do now to give them an economic future.
"As an Opposition, the Ulster Unionist Party has talked and listened to both employers’ organisations and workers’ representatives. All are unanimous in agreement that Northern Ireland needs a plan for industry. Today I repeat our appeal for the Stormont Executive to produce an industrial manufacturing strategy. It is happening in Scotland and at Westminster under the new Prime Minister. It must now happen in Northern Ireland."