Workers have been encouraged to join the Rally For a Future which is being held in Ballymena this Saturday (February 6) at noon.
The rally aimed at securing the future of the town has been gaining momentum over the past number of weeks and has now the full support of Ballymena Chamber of Commerce.
Welcoming support coming from the Chamber, Jimmy Kelly, Ireland Secretary of Unite the Union said that this demonstrated the unanimity of local economic interests for action by the Northern Ireland Executive. He said: “This statement demonstrates that both unions and business in Ballymena stand as one in the demand for action by our political leaders to secure investment and jobs. The loss of two and a half thousand jobs, will cast a long shadow over every trader and business in the town. Inaction and business-as-usual from our Ministers will not meet this challenge. Ballymena can offer any potential investor an experienced, skilled and loyal workforce, fantastic facilities and infrastructural provision. All we need is the ambition on the part of our political leaders to win investment and jobs, and a brighter future for all.”
Mr Kelly added that he welcomed the enthusiasm that ‘Rally For A Future’ is generating in Ballymena and across Northern Ireland.
He added: “From my discussions with those who are busy campaigning on the ground day after day, Rally For A Future, has really hit a chord and is being received with huge enthusiasm in the town. The public backing of Liam Neeson and the ringing endorsement of the campaign by Ballymena United Football Club has created a real buzz in the town. There’s also a growing awareness, and interest, from workers in other parts of Northern Ireland. Unite is now organising a number of buses to the rally from Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Enniskillen/Omagh. We simply can’t accept that the sector is finished, as it appears Invest NI has. Ballymena, like many other parts of Northern Ireland, can offer a huge amount to foreign investors. But without a focussed effort that potential will be lost. Rally For A Future is calling for our Ministers to have the same ambition for Manufacturing as we, and our members, have. They must ensure Invest NI reverses course. Our lead Economic Development agency must focus its resources on actively seeking to attract foreign-direct investment in Manufacturing to make up for the jobs lost in Ballymena before it is too late.”