Northern Ireland

Bombardier cutting jobs in Belfast

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Media captionThe job losses are part of a major reorganisation by the aerospace company

Bombardier in Belfast is planning to cut up to 390 jobs as a result of a company restructuring.

The firm will be cutting 300 temporary and contract jobs, and is seeking 90 redundancies from its permanent workforce.

The aerospace company is one of Northern Ireland's biggest employers.

About 5,000 permanent employees and about 1,000 temporary and contract staff work at its Belfast base.

The Canadian firm announced in July it was cutting about 1,800 jobs across its global operations.

Over the past four years, the firm has increased its total workforce in Northern Ireland by more than 1,200, primarily through contract jobs.

A company spokesperson said: "Unfortunately we now need to reduce our workforce levels.

"We deeply regret the impact this will have on those affected and their families."

'Knock-on effect'

Jackie Pollock from the Unite union described the job losses as a "devastating blow".

"I think from the announcement Bombardier made in July about reorganisation for their worldwide operations, everybody has been apprehensive about how Belfast was going to be affected," he said.

"We see now the news that just short of 400 people are going to lose their livelihoods, but the knock-on effect of that, there would be hundreds of other jobs supplemented with those 400."

He said the union would be doing its utmost to "mitigate" the number of jobs affected and "hopefully bring those numbers down".

'Painful'

Alliance MP Naomi Long said it was a "significant blow" for the local economy.

"I spoke to Bombardier this morning and their hope would be that the 90 staff employed directly by them - who are senior professional staff and managers - would be able to deal with that through voluntary redundancy," she said.

Bombardier announced in July that a reorganisation would lead to 1,800 job losses across its global operations, and Mrs Long said the company had been "very open and transparent throughout this process".

"Redundancies in Belfast were inevitable, but they have also been very clear that the company is in very good shape, albeit that this is a very painful experience for these individuals," she added.

"To put it in context, they are still committed to taking on 40 apprentices later this month which is a medium-term investment in its future, and at the end of this process, while its no comfort to those losing their jobs, they will still have 5,800 employees which is more than they had in 2009 at the low point of the recession."

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