Workers at Spirit Aerosystems in Belfast have been left ‘in limbo’ over their future say union GMB.

It was announced recently that Boeing is taking over Spirit, with Airbus taking over the part of the business that makes the wings and fuselage for its A220 jet.

The future of more than 60 per cent of the workforce who are not involved in Airbus production has now been left in doubt. Aerospace is a vital element of Northern Ireland manufacturing and has a global footprint.

Every major commercial aircraft programme in the world depends on structures, components and services sourced from Northern Ireland. The sector is valued at £1.9 billion and employs 10,000 workers, including those in sub-supply chains.

Alan Perry, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“Today’s announcement is very concerning for GMB members and what the future holds for those working on non airbus contracts. They’ve been left in limbo. We have been clear on the implications of this kind of Boeing acquisition, but we’ve yet to hear any assurances the Belfast site will be kept as one single entity.

Workers’ livelihoods cannot be put at risk for the sake of corporate greed: our members must have guarantees over their future. Northern Ireland Aerospace is one of Europe’s leading aerospace regions in revenue terms – this is not a sector where a complacent ‘laissez-faire’ approach from Stormont will pass. We need to see real action to safeguard jobs, skills and the future of the sector. GMB has called for an urgent meeting with the company, along with the Economy Minister, to make sure all staff at Spirit in Northern Ireland are fully protected.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Mark B
Mark B (@guest_832471)
14 days ago

Here we go. Is this the first of many attempts to get the Labour Government to intervene and spend taxpayers money rescuing businesses in trouble. Perhaps they should switch to making wind turbines or something.

Paul.P (@guest_832482)
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

I think the economy minister referred to, is Conor Murphy, Sinn Fein member of the NI Assembly.

Last edited 14 days ago by Paul.P
Mark (@guest_832500)
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Stormont is already dealing with massive budget shortfalls for their existing commitments, can’t see him finding much money unless Westminster fronts up with the cash, same for H&W.

Paul.P (@guest_832512)
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Understand. As yet I don’t believe Boeing have threatened closure so the GMB may be panicking. I suspect what has motivated the Boeing move is that the cause of the door falling off a plane was traced to work done at Spirit. Best case is Boeing just want to put their own quality people in the plant. Worst case of course is that they feel they must move manufacture of Boeing components to the US.

DanielMorgan (@guest_832565)
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

American manufacturers have come to the realization that outsourcing was a major mistake and there is a concerted effort to bring manufacturing back to the US or Mexico under direct control. Of course, that’s easier said than done. And there’s not much Stormont or anyone else in the UK can do about it.

Carrickter (@guest_832637)
13 days ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

100% – a Trump policy / initiative that I can fully understand, but cost my dad his job in 2018 at an oil well equipment factory (Schlumberger) in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland. They shifted manufacturing back to a cheaper and closer plant in Mexico, and even flew some of those Mexican staff over to learn on the job for 6 months before closure! My dad had to literally train his cheaper replacement! But he got a decent redundancy out of it, paid of his mortgage and semi-retired, so silver linings etc. Spirit Aero has a few sites in NI, one of… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Carrickter
AlexS (@guest_832486)
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

 Perhaps they should switch to making wind turbines or something.

Aren’t those paid by taxpayers already?

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_832493)
13 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Nope mostly commercial enterprises.

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_832547)
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Everybody pays in their inflated energy bills.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_832550)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Ah well we will soon have Great British Energy so it will probably be free. 🤷 …. and pigs might fly

RB (@guest_833164)
11 days ago

There is a huge supplier capacity shortage in the aviation industry, also Boeing’s intention to move lots of work to China (e.g. in 2018 it opened a big facility in Zhoushan) has in recent years been on hold or even partially reversed. I think the staff in Belfast are safe for a few years yet, and that is about as far ahead as you can confidently forecast in the private sector. However, the factory and its workforce now have to prove to Boeing that they are efficient and cost effective, and worth investing in as part of the much anticipated… Read more »

Lonpfrb (@guest_833165)
11 days ago
Reply to  RB

Best of luck with that to them all.

tomuk (@guest_833181)
11 days ago

“In addition, Spirit plans to pursue the divestiture of certain operations. These include Spirit’s business and operations in (1) Subang, Malaysia, (2) Prestwick, Scotland that support Airbus programs, and (3) Belfast, Northern Ireland other than those that support Airbus programs.”
So it looks like Prestwick are in more if not equal jeopardy than Belfast. No comment on that from a Scottish blog?