There was relief amongst Bombardier’s world class manufacturing workforce yesterday after it was revealed that a buyer has been found for the firm’s Northern Ireland operations.
Unite welcomed the news that Bombardier has been sold to US firm Spirit AeroSystems in a deal worth around £1bn, saying that investment for growth must follow the sale.
Canadian firm Bombardier put its Northern Ireland operations, which employ about 3,600 people, up for sale in May.
Kansas-based Spirit is already a major supplier to Airbus and the firm is planning on increasing its Airbus market by buying Bombardier’s operations in Northern Ireland, which produce wings and other parts for the aerospace company.
The Belfast factory will also continue to supply Bombardier’s business jet programmes.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “(This) deal will see Bombardier’s footprint here transfer as a whole to one of the world’s largest independent producers of aero-structures. This outcome comes off the back of a Unite delegation of shop stewards led by myself flying to meet the Bombardier chief executive and senior management team in Montreal.
Excellent track record in aerospace
“We are pleased that Bombardier has heeded our call to be a responsible seller and the need for Bombardier aero-structures production to be transferred as a whole to a company with an excellent track record in aerospace rather than a short-termist hedge fund. It is a sale that offers hope for a positive future for Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland and their colleagues in the supply chain.
“I have written to Spirit’s chief executive officer Tom Gentile and look forward to meeting him in the weeks ahead to discuss future investment and plans for growth and jobs.”
Unite regional coordinating officer Susan Fitzgerald said it was no surprise that Bombardier has been able to find a commercial bidder for its operations in Northern Ireland.
“These workers and the skills base they possess are world class and offer any prospective owner a huge platform for future growth. Unite welcomes this announcement and hopes that it will be followed up by investment for growth in the future,” Fitzgerald said.
“Such investment would be good news for the workers and would secure a future at the forefront of the aerospace manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland. Our next order of business is to meet with Spirit to ensure that our members’ interests are kept to the forefront in this change of ownership.”