Talks between borough councillors and officers and NIO Ministers last month over the closure of JTI in Ballymena were “extremely useful”.
Providing feedback on the cross party delegation to Stormont, Mayor Cllr Audrey Wales told the monthly meeting of Council of its ‘usefulness’. She said “it was evident” that Minister Arlene Foster and department officials were “engaged” with JTI at a senior level and that she was heartened to be told that the plant would “remain in full production right up to the planned closure”.
Council’s Acting Chief Executive Rodger McKnight said the Minister had confirmed the first phase of the consultation process had ended and that they were now engaging with JTI management on “how the planned closure will be handled”.
“They are working with JTI management on a ‘skills audit’ to identify appropriate support mechanisms based on future aspirations of the workforce. It was a productive meeting,” he added.