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Bombardier workers lobbying parliament demanding action to defend their jobs
A DEPUTATION of Bombardier workers will be meeting with MPs at the House of Commons this morning and will press the government into taking action to defend jobs, skills and communities and stand up to Boeing.

They will be unveiling a giant banner outside parliament at 9.20am urging MPs from all parties to defend Bombardier jobs. The workers will be calling on prime minister Theresa May to summon Boeing to a summit with the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and workforce representatives.

Today’s deputation, on behalf of Northern Ireland’s 4,500 Bombardier workers, comes amid accusations that the UK government is continuing to sit on its hands over the Bombardier crisis. The US department of commerce slapped a further 80 per cent tariff on Bombardier’s C-series passenger jets last Friday (6th October), taking the total amount of tariffs to 300 per cent.

The tariffs follow a complaint by Boeing to the US authorities over unfair competition regarding the sale of Bombardier’s C-series passenger jet. It is a complaint that has been dismissed by the union Unite and politicians as ‘without merit’ because Boeing does not make a plane comparable to Bombardier’s C-series, and did not even bid for the work to supply Delta Airlines that it is now claiming was won unfairly.

Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: ‘The British government has a duty to defend UK manufacturing jobs against the bullying behaviour of Boeing. A failure to do so will signal that any ambition ministers have for a coherent industrial strategy is effectively in tatters and that they are happy to put Trump’s “America First” policy ahead of UK manufacturing jobs.

‘Boeing’s case is without merit, a fact that prime minster May has herself admitted. Theresa May and her government need to be battling for Northern Ireland’s Bombardier workforce which makes some of the most technologically advanced wings in the world. The UK government must heed the call of Bombardier’s Northern Ireland workers and summon Boeing to an urgent summit involving prime minister May and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and trade unions. Ministers should leave Boeing in no doubt that a failure to do so will lead to sanctions on current and future work on behalf of the UK government.’

• Unite has also vowed to fight for every job at BAE Systems after the defence company announced plans yesterday (Tuesday 10 October) to cut 1,915 jobs across its aerospace and marine divisions.

Branding the planned job cuts a ‘betrayal’ of a loyal workforce and ‘devastatingly short sighted’, Unite warned that the move would harm UK manufacturing and deprive communities across the UK of decent well paid jobs into the future.

Accusing the UK government of hollowing out the UK’s sovereign defence capability by spending increasing amounts of the defence budget in factories overseas, Unite called on government ministers to ‘take back control of our own defence and invest UK taxes here in the UK by buying British designed and built defence equipment.’

Unite estimates that by 2020, 25 per cent of the UK’s defence spend will be benefiting American factories and companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The union is calling on government ministers to commit that long-term projects, such as the next generation fighter jet, future support ships and Type 31e frigate, ‘will be designed and built here in the UK.’

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: ‘Unite will not stand by and allow the defence of our nation to be outsourced abroad. These devastatingly short sighted cuts will harm communities, jobs and skills. Unite will fight for every job and support every community under threat in both BAE’s aerospace and marine divisions.

‘These are world class workers with years of training and expertise on which an additional four jobs rely upon in the supply chain.’


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