‘Invest NI assurance on proactively attracting investment to Ballymena will be judged on delivery’- Union

Unite shop-stewards at Michelin.
Unite shop-stewards at Michelin.

Ahead of the Rally for a Future which is being held in Saturday, Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly has welcomed Invest NI’s ‘u-turn’ on the Manufacturing sector.

In response to a Invest NI press release in which their Chief Executive Officer, Alistair Hamilton sought to reassure companies and workers that they had not ‘thrown the towel in’ on the Manufacturing sector.

Ireland Secretary of Unite, Jimmy Kelly said: “Unite welcomes this statement from the Chief Executive of Invest NI, Alistair Hamilton. We note in particular his commitment to supporting manufacturing businesses, both indigenous and foreign-owned, which are already located in Northern Ireland.

“Unfortunately his assurance that Invest NI is ‘proactively seeking foreign investment in manufacturing’ is in direct contradiction to a statement by a spokesperson for the agency carried in the press in early November. Unlike the support he detailed that was offered to manufacturers already located here, he provided no evidence to justify his assurance.

“Unite wishes to take Mr Hamilton on his word but we, and the community in Ballymena, will judge him on his delivery on those words. The evidence of a proactive approach to securing foreign investment will be seen in the delivery of employment to fill the gap left by the loss of JTI-Gallaher and Michelin.

“Ballymena can offer a skilled, experienced and committed workforce to potential investors and has well-serviced sites, ready for investment with excellent infrastructural connections. Our political leaders and those paid well to secure economic growth have a responsibility to deliver investment and jobs. In this, they will be judged on their performance not on their words.

“This statement from the Invest NI Chief Executive made in advance of the Rally For A Future demonstration this Saturday demonstrates just why it is vital for workers and the wider community to send the strongest possible signal that we demand action to avoid the risk of Ballymena being left an economic wasteland”, Mr Kelly concluded.