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‘Huge vote of confidence’

Unite calls for workforce return after Wrightbus sale confirmed
Ryan Fletcher, Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

The purchase of Wrightbus by industrialist Jo Bamford must lead to the greatest number of staff returning to work, Unite said after the sale of the bus manufacturer was confirmed yesterday (October 23).


The newly formed Bamford Bus Company will begin recruitment in the “coming weeks” now that the sale of the Wrightbus factory in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, has been completed.


Bamford Bus Company chief executive Buta Atwal said the firm would capitalise on growing demand for low carbon buses in the public transport sector.


He said, “We must now focus on that opportunity and work hard as a team to move forward and rebuild this great business.


“Recruitment will begin over the coming weeks and we are very excited about the prospect of recruiting a world-class calibre of people to the business.”


The sale only came about after the workforce mobilised to save the bus manufacturing plant by pressuring former owner Jeff Wright to hand the land the site is situated on back to the community.


Wrightbus went into administration in late September due to cash flow problems and a prospective buyer pulling out, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.


Unite said Bamford’s acquisition of Wrightbus must lead to the greatest number of workers returning to building buses and called for wider investment to lock-in Ballymena’s status as manufacturing skills hub into the long-term.


Unite Regional Officer for Wrightbus, George Brash, said, “This represents a huge vote of confidence in the workforce and in the future of Ballymena as a manufacturing centre. We need to see this decision followed up by a wider programme of public investment in Ballymena to lock in these jobs for the long-term future.


“Unite will engage with our members and with the new owners to ensure the greatest possible number of workers return to what they do best, building buses. This is a highly-skilled workforce and it is vital that Ballymena continues to grow as a hub for cutting-edge bus manufacturing.”


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