Northern Ireland

Caterpillar: Brokenshire holds talks with executive over job losses

Caterpillar unit Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Caterpillar is the world's largest manufacturer of heavy equipment

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has held talks with the Stormont executive following news that 200 jobs are to be cut at US manufacturing firm, Caterpillar.

He said the government wants to help those affected.

Caterpillar employs 1,800 people in Northern Ireland with factories in Larne, Newtownabbey and west Belfast.

The move will lead to the closure of its Monkstown plant in Newtownabbey.

Caterpillar is the world's largest manufacturer of heavy equipment.

Mr Brokenshire said he had met the Northern Ireland executive to discuss how they could "work together to prevent future losses and bring new employment opportunities".

A UK government spokesperson said: "This is clearly a very worrying time for Caterpillar's workers.

"We recognise the concern and the uncertainty that this will pose for families for those whose jobs may be at risk.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption The move will lead to the closure of Caterpillar's Monkstown plant in Newtownabbey

"The Northern Ireland secretary has already had discussions with the executive on how we can work together to help prevent future losses and bring new employment opportunities to Northern Ireland."

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme that a meeting over Brexit on Thursday had been "overshadowed" by news of job losses at Caterpillar.

He said he would "stand ready and willing to help the economy minister in his response" to the cuts.

The trade union, Unite, said the announcement should be a turning point for the Northern Ireland executive's industrial policy and said "real action" was required to help a "beleaguered sector".

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