Northern Ireland

Howden: Around 100 jobs to go at Belfast engineering factory

Howden Image copyright Google
Image caption Staff at Howden on the Queen's Road were given the news on Friday

An engineering factory in east Belfast is set to close with the loss of around 100 jobs.

Howden UK, formerly Sirocco Engineering, is based at Queen's Road and makes equipment for power generation and mining.

The company said most of the work of the Belfast operation would transfer to Glasgow.

Howden is American-owned, operating in more than 17 countries.

'History'

A company statement said it would "endeavour" to offer the Belfast workers alternative employment.

It said low cost suppliers were a major threat to its market.

"This shows no sign of improving with the vast majority of sales opportunities being in lower cost regions such as China, India and South East Asia."

Consultations will now be held with trade unions.

The statement also said the company wanted to "consolidate our manufacturing to fewer sites".


Analysis by John Campbell, BBC NI Economics and Business Editor

100 people are losing their jobs but a major piece of Belfast's industrial history is also being lost.

The Howden factory is a direct descendant of the Sirocco Works - the manufacturing plant founded by the engineering genius Samuel Cleland Davidson.

He started in the tea business and was looking for a more efficient way to dry tea leaves so he began designing fans.

This led to the development of what is known as the Sirocco fan, a highly efficient design that became the standard industrial fan for ventilating ships, factories and mines.

Davidson is also credited with creating the world's first air conditioning system for human comfort. It was installed the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.