Ministers pledge support for JTI staff

JTI (Gallaher) Lisnafillen. BT24-198JC
JTI (Gallaher) Lisnafillen. BT24-198JC

Stormont Ministers have pledged their support for workers affected by the JTI factory closure in Ballymena.

Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, and Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, have said they will do everything they can to help those impacted by the decision.

Commenting on the future closure Minister Storey said: “This is devastating news for the employees and families of JTI Gallahers in Ballymena, and for the wider economic position for the town and the local area. This decision, which has followed a period of consultation by the company, is extremely disappointing.

“I want to take this opportunity to assure those who may be affected in the coming years that staff within the Social Security Agency will be there to provide all the necessary support and advice they can. Agency staff will also be working closely with other Government Departments in the future to ensure that impacted workers will be able to access government assistance right across the board.”

Minister Farry said: “My Department will work proactively delivering redundancy clinics to the company and their employees. The Redundancy Advice Service works in partnership with a range of agencies including the Further Education Colleges and HMRC to provide advice on alternative job opportunities and access to training courses and a range of other issues such as benefits and taxation.

“The Redundancy Advice Service will co-ordinate and deliver a tailored package of support and employees will be provided with information and professional advice about the options and support available to them including employment, training, re-skilling, education opportunities and careers advice.

“Going forward, my Department has in place a range of services and provision on alternative employment opportunities including advice about the options and support available to help them find another job.”