Published on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UK's biggest trade union accuses Boeing of corporate bullying

The UK's largest trade union has waded into a row between US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and its Canadian rival Bombardier which threatens thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland.

Boeing has accused Bombardier of 'price dumping' and after it sold 125 CSeries aircraft, whose wings are manufactured at its Belfast plant, to US airline Delta at a loss.

Boeing claims Bombardier was able to sell the aircraft below cost because it had received investment from the Canadian government and from Invest NI, Northern Ireland's economic development agency.

If the US Department of Commerce agrees with Boeing that these amounted to unfair state subsidies, it could impose punitive tariffs on the CSeries, making it difficult for Bombardier to find more customers for the aircraft in the US.

After it emerged that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had expressed her concern about the dispute to US President Donald Trump, Unite called on the UK government to 'urgently clarify the legality of the state funding that Bombardier raised'.

The aircraft manufacturer is the largest private sector employer in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at TUC Congress in Brighton, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "What is needed is to end this corporate bullying by Boeing that is putting thousands of good jobs at risk.

"Boeing's attempts to link this public investment to the allegation of unfair competition are unsustainable; indeed, in the case of the sale of planes to Delta airlines which has been raised, Boeing did not even make a bid."

"Unite is demanding the Prime Minister and the government stand up for the workforce in Northern Ireland and our aerospace industry and to stand up for decent jobs. She needs to tell President Trump, she will not stand by and watch Boeing threaten thousands of jobs."

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