Long regrets Thales job losses.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has said the loss of 50 jobs at defence engineering firm Thales in her constituency is deeply regrettable, particularly given the highly specialist nature of their employment.

Having spoken with both management and the Minister for Employment and Learning, Mrs Long added that she was reassured all options to find new employment for the affected staff are being actively pursued.

Alliance MP Mrs Long was speaking after Thales Air Defence announced global defence spending cut-backs would mean the loss of 50 employees from its plants in East Belfast and Crossgar. Across the UK almost 400 hundred workers will be made redundant out of a workforce of about 7,500.

“This move to make redundant 50 people from the Thales plants in Northern Ireland is certainly a regrettable one, particularly given the time of year it is occurring and the impact which it will have on them and their families.

“Thales have been carrying additional staff for some time in the hope that the commercial situation would improve, as their staff are highly skilled and extremely difficult to replace; however, whilst they have been partially successful with recent bids, the drop in defence spending means that they are unable to sustain this going forward.

“I have spoken with management at Thales, as well as DEL Minister Stephen Farry, and discussions are currently on-going to assist staff who are being made redundant with a view to finding at least some of them work in similar fields, in an attempt to ensure as many workers as possible remain in gainful employment and that their expertise in this ever-changing field does not go to waste.”


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