Wrightbus: Call for community to attend rally

Former Wright Bus employees wait outside one of the former bus manufacturing factories where they were getting assistance with further employment. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Former Wright Bus employees wait outside one of the former bus manufacturing factories where they were getting assistance with further employment. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

A march is to be held in Ballymena on Friday in a bid to persuade the government to take action over Wrightbus.

The union Unite called on administrators at the Ballymena firm to take an “imaginative approach” to saving the 1,200 jobs and repeat the example of Harland and Wolff in Belfast which is now under new ownership.

Unite regional secretary Jackie Pollock said: “The Conservative government promised a new deal for Northern Ireland. If that promise is to mean anything it must mean action to safeguard our manufacturing sector in general and the livelihoods of the Wrightbus workforce in particular.

“The lessons of Harland & Wolff where, after a nine-week workplace occupation, the shipyard was saved must be learnt by all. There is substantial commercial interest in this company but it is vital that we see the urgent action needed from government to ensure the administrators maintain the company as a ‘going-concern’.

“Saving the livelihoods of the 1,200 Wrightbus workers is not just a moral imperative but of vital importance to the social and economic future of Ballymena. This community has suffered so much already with repeated large-scale closures and job-losses.”

Unite’s regional officer George Brash, said it was crucial that as many people as possible attend Friday’s rally.

“We are urging the wider Ballymena community to join our march and rally for jobs and a future – we need to keep on the pressure to secure a win for all,” he said.