Two North Antrim MLAs have voiced their disappointment at the news of redundancies at WrightBus in Ballymena.
Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan has said the announcement of up to 125 redundancies at Wrightbus in Ballymena will come as a blow to the local economy at a time when it is already under pressure.
The North Antrim MLA said: “News that up to 125 workers at Wrightbus in Ballymena will be made redundant is a huge blow and my thoughts are with the workers and their families at this time.
“This will have a major impact the local economy in Ballymena and north Antrim at a time when many are already under great financial strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have spoken to management at Wrightbus and urged them to engage with trade unions and ensure the workers are kept up to date with any developments.
“Workers who are affected should be offered retraining or upskilling opportunities and support to find alternative employment.”
TUV leader and MLA Jim Allister has said that Job losses at Wrightbus is a hard blow, but hydrogen bus opportunities must be secured.
Commenting on the job losses at Wrightbus Mr Allister said:-
“The loss of up to 125 jobs at Wrightbus so soon after the euphoria of the Bamford takeover is a hard blow for the workforce and district.
“The key task now is to ensure this is the last we hear of job losses at Wrightbus. That can be achieved by government and all other interests getting behind the hydrogen bus revolution that Wrightbus is leading. In the green energy alternatives Wrightbus producing hydrogen fuelled buses is the far better option for Northern Ireland, and indeed the whole U.K., than preference to battery charged buses whose technology mostly comes from China. Some recent promotion of such battery driven buses by the Department of Transport in London is not helpful.
“Wrightbus will ultimately be able to produce both but the its head start in hydrogen must not be wasted.
“Indeed, what is now required is a concerted effort by Stormont, private enterprise and the local council to create a hydrogen hub in Ballymena, which is something I will be asking to discuss with the Economy Minister in the near future.“
TUV council leader, Cllr Timothy Gaston, added: “Council must, and I believe will, join in any concerted effort to ensure the future of Wrightbus. Creating a hydrogen hub in Ballymena is, I believe, the way to go and therefore I will be trying with colleagues to energise this drive.”