Council to be asked to back 24,000 workers in North's aerospace supply chain affected by Boeing/Bombardier row

Liam Gallagher of Unite.
Liam Gallagher of Unite.

Derry City and Strabane District Council will today be asked to back the 24,000 plus workers in the North who could to be affected by the ongoing Bombardier-Boeing trade dispute.

The Council is set to debate a motion at its monthly meeting in the Guildhall expressing "profound concern" over what the Unite trade union is describing as United States "protectionism".

It centres on a claim by US aerospace firm Boeing that its Québécois competitor Bombardier is using Canadian state subsidies to undercut it in the North American market.

On Friday the International Trade Commission (ITC) will decide on whether or not to impose a 300 per cent sales duty on the imports of Bombardier's flagship C-Series jet, which is part manufactured in the North, into the US.

Today Unite workers will hold a rally at 3.30pm at the Guildhall steps before the council debates the motion of support at its monthly meeting for January.

The council will decide whether or not to recognise: "The vital significance of Bombardier Aerospace, formerly Shorts, for the Northern Ireland economy, with four thousand three hundred workers directly employed and a further twenty thousand employed indirectly in the supply chain or through induced economic activity.

"We express our profound concern at the threat posed to these jobs by the recent protectionist judgements by the US International Trade Commission which effectively placed a 300 per cent surcharge on the C Series aircraft in an attempt to close the US market; it is resolved to express our full solidarity with the workforce and company at this time of trial and propose to write directly to the Prime Minister Theresa May MP to request that the government make it known to Boeing that if they do not withdraw their case then they will be excluding themselves from UK procurement opportunities both current and future; it is further resolved to write to the European Trade Commissioner to request an immediate escalation through existing trade disputes mechanisms."

Elsewhere, People Before Profit have called on the DUP to bring down the Conservative Government over the dispute.

"If the DUP are serious at all about saving Bombardier jobs in East Belfast, they should pull support for the Tories at Westminster.Theresa May has done next to nothing to save the Bombardier jobs at risk across the UK. The Tory attempts to intervene include a phonecall to Trump and a pathetically short four page submission to the US ITC, which spends much of it’s first paragraphs lamenting over the US UK relationship,” the party said.