Around 400 core employee jobs are at risk of redundancy at aerospace company Bombardier in Northern Ireland.
The company has made the announcement following a review of its requirements, given current market conditions.
Covid-19 has had a major impact on the industry and Bombardier says it has to downsize to reflect decreased market demand throughout this year and next.
“Bombardier Aviation announced last week that it would adjust its workforce to align with current market conditions reflecting the extraordinary industry interruptions and challenges caused by Covid-19,” a statement said.
“We have now reviewed our requirements in Belfast for all of our aircraft programmes and regret to confirm that we must adjust our core workforce levels downwards by around 400 to align with market demand for the remainder of this year and through 2021.”
The company will be lodging a formal HR1 redundancy notice with the Department for the Economy.
There will then be a 90-day consultation period when Bombardier will explore opportunities to mitigate the number of redundancies.
It is understood up to 250 agency jobs could also be affected.
The statement from Bombardier added: “We deeply regret the impact this will have on our workforce and their families, but it is crucial that we resize our business in line with market realities in these unprecedented circumstances.”
The Canadian company, which has its headquarters in Montréal, employs 60,000 people – around 3,300 of them in Northern Ireland.
It has already announced 2,500 job cuts, largely in Canada.
Unions have expressed serious concerns about the future of the aerospace sector in Northern Ireland and the knock-on effect on the wider economy.
Denise Walker, from the GMB union, explained: “Aerospace is a vital element of Northern Ireland manufacturing and has a global footprint.
“Every major commercial aircraft programme in the world depends on structures, components and services sourced from Northern Ireland.
“The sector is valued at £1.9bn and employs 10,000 workers, including those in sub-supply chains.”
Susan Fitzgerald, from Unite, added: “The money these workers spend and the supply chain demand from this business plays a vital role in the Northern Ireland economy.
“Redundancies on this scale will have a devastating impact across the board, but in the face of mounting threats to the aerospace sector as a whole, all we have seen is complete inaction from the Stormont Executive.
“Governments in many other countries have announced major interventions to safeguard jobs and skills.
“France has just announced a €16bn programme for their aerospace and aviation sectors to safeguard jobs, from engineers to airline and airport staff.
“Similar measures are needed at a UK and Northern Ireland level.”
Ms Fitzgerald added: “Unless a specific support package is brought forward soon, including measures such as an aircraft scrappage scheme, then thousands of jobs will be lost and the UK will lose its standing as a world leader in aerospace.
“Public money invested to secure this industry would be recouped through the taxes and contributions of all those who would otherwise be forced onto dole queues and could be matched with equity-stakes and tied to a transition to greener aircraft.”
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