Ballymena based bus maker Wrightbus has gone into administration, resulting in around 1,200 job losses, the trade union Unite has confirmed.
The union’s regional secretary Jackie Pollock confirmed the news at a press conference this morning, September 25, and has called on the UK government to intervene and save the firm.
The company built virtually all of the 1,000 vehicles used by Dublin bus, as well as the majority of Translink’s fleet in Belfast.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the the company’s most high profile customers during his time as mayor of London. In 2012 he ordered a fleet of double deckers, which became known as ‘Boris buses’.
Mr Pollock said that the British PM must step in and take action.
“Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made great play about how he stands strong for British industry. He must now intervene to safeguard these workers’ jobs and skills and a future for Ballymena by nationalising this business – there’s no EU state aid rules that could prevent it.
“Ballymena has already lost thousands of decent, union jobs with the closure of JTI-Gallaher and Michelin in recent year, and most recently 86 jobs at Blackbourne – we face the prospect of further devastation should this closure be allowed to proceed.”
Mr Pollock concluded: “Wrightbus is the last UK company capable of producing double-decker buses – indeed buses with advanced renewables technology – needed by commuters in Belfast, Dublin and London and vital to any vision of a transition to a sustainable future. We call on Boris Johnson to ‘take back control’ and nationalise to invest in securing UK bus manufacturing capacity?”