Britain’s largest union, Unite accused prime minister Theresa May of acting ‘discourteously’ and being more absorbed in trying to manage her squabbling Tory party than finding a ‘fair and urgent solution’ to the crisis facing Bombardier and over 4,200 of its Belfast employees.
The accusation comes as it emerged that the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland Owen Smith and the shadow secretary for business, energy, and industrial strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey had written to the prime minister two weeks ago with concerns over the Bombardier trade dispute initiated by Boeing.
Both shadow ministers are yet to get a reply, according to a letter written today (Monday 2 October) to the prime minster by the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn. The letter from the Labour leader calls for Theresa May to summon the boss of Boeing Dennis Muilenburg to an urgent summit with herself and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary with responsibility for aerospace and shipbuilding Steve Turner said: “The discourteous treatment of approaches from the official opposition seeking to secure a fair and urgent solution to this crisis for UK manufacturing is a disgrace.
“Over 4,200 workers directly employed and thousands more in the wider supply chain are looking to the government to support them. Between them these workers account for 40 per cent of Northern Ireland’s private sector GDP.
“Instead of seeing the UK government fighting for their jobs, these workers have to watch the international trade secretary Liam Fox dismissively refer to them as being part of the ‘crossfire’ between the US and Canada, while Theresa May’s energies are absorbed in trying to manage her squabbling Tory party.
“We urge the prime minister to back up her tough talk on Boeing and summon the firm’s boss to an urgent summit to resolve this dispute and secure Bombardier jobs in Belfast.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.