Danny Kennedy, the Ulster Unionist Party`s European Election candidate, has reiterated his call for everything to be done to protect jobs at Bombardier in Belfast, including raising the issue directly with the Prime Minister and at the Stormont talks.
Danny Kennedy said:
“Last week I met with Unite the Union to discuss the announcement that Bombardier is to sell off its aerostructures division, including its Belfast operation. I asked our Party Chief Whip Steve Aiken OBE MLA to raise it at the talks, which he did so on Friday, at the weekly co-ordination meeting. He asked for it to be put on the agenda for the meeting of Party Leaders on Tuesday, given the importance of Bombardier to Northern Ireland`s manufacturing sector. I hope that all parties can agree to give this their utmost attention in the weeks ahead.
“I’m very pleased my Party Leader raised this issue directly with the Prime Minister in his telephone conversation this morning. The Prime Minister was able to inform Robin that the Business Secretary Greg Clark would provide an update. Ideally this would have been done by a locally accountable minister. However given the ongoing Stormont stalemate, I am pleased that Greg Clark and his department are taking a lead on this. However we need to keep attention focused on getting the best result for the Northern Ireland workforce.
“Bombardier`s Belfast operation is the jewel in Northern Ireland`s manufacturing crown. In addition to Bombardier, there are 80 aerospace companies in the supply chain in Northern Ireland. The sector is doing well and about 10,000 people are employed, including 3,500 at Bombardier. It is absolutely vital that everything is done to ensure any sale provides a positive outcome.”