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We can ill-afford to lose high quality manufacturing jobs – Aiken

Steve Aiken OBE MLA, Ulster Unionist Finance spokesperson, has stated that the announcements of a proposal by Schlumberger to close their plant in Newtownabbey and further job losses at Bombardier should be a warning to all politicians.

Steve Aiken OBE MLA said:

“This morning`s announcement that Schlumberger is proposing to close its Newtownabbey plant where over 200 workers are currently employed combined with the announcement of a further 280 losses at Bombardier is very worrying. This is a massive blow for dedicated workers. And with every worker there are families so those affected goes away beyond cold statistics.

“It is at times like this that management, unions and politicians need to work together to try and mitigate the impact on workers and their families. There are no easy answers but I would appeal to these companies not to make hasty decisions. We have some of the highest skilled, best trained workers in the world and what an accountant may see as short term gain on a balance sheet may not ultimately be the right strategic decision.

“This should also be a warning to all politicians. We need to get our priorities right – we need our manufacturing sector like never before and we can ill-afford to lose high quality jobs like these. The manufacturing sector is the heartbeat of our economy and we should be doing everything we can to build it up and selling the message around the world that Northern Ireland is a place with the workers who have the skills and ability to manufacture products of the highest quality. We need a manufacturing strategy to help them and we need it now. That`s why we need a functioning Assembly and Executive back in place.”

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