ICTU Executive reiterates its full support to Bombardier workers and their union representatives

28 Sep 2017

The leaders of the 44 trade unions on the island of Ireland have repeated their full support for 4,500 manufacturing workers in Bombardier Belfast, and are lobbying support for their affiliated unions, Unite and GMB, at both intergovernmental levels as well as through its networks in the international trade union movement.

The ICTU Executive Council, which is the elected body representing 44 affiliate unions who organise nearly 600,000 workers in the Republic of Ireland and 200,000 workers in Northern Ireland, is striving to deliver on its stated support for its affiliate unions Unite and GMB who represent the 4,500 workers.


Speaking today from the All-island Civic Dialogue event in Dublin, Owen Reidy, ICTU Assistant General Secretary stated:

“The bizarre, arbitrary and protectionist ruling by the US Department of Commerce on behalf of Boeing against Bombardier has the potential to have a devastating impact on its Belfast workforce and the wider Northern Ireland economy. These are highly skilled decent jobs that must be protected. It is incumbent on the entire political and business establishment in Northern Ireland to lobby and cajole the UK and Irish governments, the European Unions and whatever friends we have in the US Congress to support the workers.

“While we believe that trade disputes have few winners, we support the call from Unite’s Jimmy Kelly for stronger action from the UK government. As Unite have said, The UK government must now intervene to secure orders from British carriers for Bombardier aircraft – they should also immediately review all contracts with Boeing.

“We also support the GMB, who also represent Bombardier workers, and have criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for her ineffectual lobbying of President Trump to date. If the Prime Minister cannot stand up for a key strategic industry this time, how can we have any trust in her of her government’s ability to strike any half-decent trade deal after Brexit?

“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions will be doing what it can with the Irish government, our colleagues in the TUC and the international trade union movement to seek to ensure that all of these jobs which are a critical part of the Northern Ireland economy are protected.”