East Belfast Councillor Naomi Long has asked the Government to intensify its efforts to attract fresh investment to the area, which has suffered around 4,000 job losses in the past two years.
An Alliance delegation met with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Ian Pearson, on Monday, when they discussed the current crisis at Shorts.
Cllr Long said: “The current difficulties at Shorts are part of a more widespread and worrying trend in East Belfast. There have been a high number of redundancies, particularly in the engineering sector, recently and the threat of further lay-offs does nothing to build confidence in the community.
“While the Government says it recognises the importance of maintaining the jobs at Shorts for the overall health of the economy in East Belfast, I asked the Minister to intensify efforts to attract fresh investment into this part of the city, which is reeling from a series of economic blows delivered over the past couple of years.
“I stressed that the Government needs to act now to get support mechanisms in place to help the employees and their families come to terms with what is a very traumatic and uncertain future for them, to facilitate retraining and, most importantly, to ensure that there are job opportunities available to them in East Belfast.”
Alliance representatives have also met with unions and employers at Shorts to discuss the difficulties at the firm in an attempt to prevent potential job losses.