Independent councillor Gary Donnelly has blasted U.S. President Donald Trump for his role in the Boeing/Bombardier trade dispute which until Friday looked set to jeopardise up to 24,000 jobs in the North.
Colr. Donnelly said Mr. Trump’s support for a Boeing unfair competition case against Bombardier had placed the jobs of 4,300 workers at Shorts in East Belfast and a further 20,000 workers in the wider aerospace supply chain at risk.
Boeing, supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, had demanded that a 300 per cent surcharge be applied to U.S. imports of Bombardier’s flagship C Series jet, due to state subsidies it claimed its Québécois rival had received from Canada.
However, in a major boost to workers on Friday the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favour of Bombardier.
Supporting the local workers ahead of the ruling, Colr. Donnelly said: “There’s a bit of irony in this in that this situation has been brought about by the actions of Donald Trump. I warned this Council before Christmas about the negative effects of having Donald Trump in such a powerful position because he is the person who is driving this agenda. His actions are having a detrimental effect right throughout the world and we can see it here on workers’ rights.”
Members unanimously backed a motion of support for the workers, some of whom were present in the public gallery at the Council’s monthly meeting for January.
DUP Alderman David Ramsey, tabling the motion, said Council must be “part of the united support going forward for the employees and the company as well”.
SDLP Colr. John Boyle, however, said the London Government had not done enough to protect local jobs.
“The Tory-led and DUP-supported government are implying that it’s simply an argument between the U.S. and Canada and clearly that is a very, very weak position to have attempted to uphold.”
Independent Darren O’Reilly said: “Theresa May has never been on the side of workers. It’s evident in the four page submission [the U.K. Government submitted to the ITC].”
Sinn Féin Colr. Mickey Cooper said: “I’m tempted to say any negative results of this process would be put down to another example of Tory/DUP rule but also, in terms of no stone being left unturned, the Business Secretary in the London Government and his mandarins were dealing with pebbles rather than stones.”