Invest NI tries to put positive spin on Bombardier cuts

21 Oct 2016

Aeroplane. Image: Shutterstock/Genja

Canadian plane and train manufacturer Bombardier has announced huge job cuts worldwide, with its Northern Ireland workforce a potential victim.

Cutting 7,500 jobs worldwide over the next three years, Bombardier’s major restructuring could put significant strain on the Northern Ireland economy, with some 5,000 people employed by the company there.


Future Human

Designing and manufacturing aeroplane wings, the Northern Ireland workforce has yet to hear how they will be affected, with a separate company announcement in February saying 10pc of global workers would be let go over two years.

It’s a grim time for all concerned, though Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, honed in on one of the more positive elements to the company’s latest shift.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said the company will simultaneously be “strategically hiring” for its growth areas: the CSeries family of narrow-body jets and its Global 7000 business jet, which is expected to make its first flight next month.

“The company is yet to provide the detail on where these job losses will come from and therefore, we do not yet know the potential impact on Northern Ireland,” said Hamilton.

“It is important to note that today’s announcement by the company signals an ongoing ramp-up on its newest aircraft programmes, the C Series and Global 7000, both of which have significant Northern Ireland work content.”

Today’s news of job cuts will bring costs down at the company by up to $300m when the process is completed in 2018.

“We understand these are difficult decisions … but in the end what we are going to be left with is a leaner, stronger organisation,” said Bellemare. “We are doing this because we want to save jobs in Canada.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic