Aggressive US against Northern Ireland workers tip of iceberg for Europe, says union. GMB, the union for Bombardier workers, has sent an urgent delegation to Brussels to demand action from the EU on Bombardier. Comment from Michael Mulholland, GMB Regional Organiser.
During a series of meetings with MEPs and European Commission trade officials tomorrow, GMB will discuss how to tackle aggressive US trade policy head on. MEP’s and the GMB delegation will also ask if the UK Government has asked the EU Commission to take any action.
The union will warn that attacks on Bombardier today will be attacks on other industries across Europe if this action by US goes unchallenged by EU.
Bombardier was hit with punitive tariffs by US President Donald Trump’s administration after a complaint from multi-billion rival firm Boeing that it has engaged in anti-competitive practices over its new C series planes was upheld.
Bombardier now faces an additional 80 percent penalty tariff — taking it from 220 percent to 300 percent – which will slap an additional $15 million dollars on the cost of each C series plane sold to Delta Airlines in the US.
There are more than 4,500 workers at the Bombardier site in Belfast – with around 1,000 workers who work directly on the C Series planes. Bombardier has several other production and engineering sites in the EU also likely to feel the impact, which GMB feels further strengthens the urgency for EU action. GMB says the threat of further job losses as a result of uncertainty risked having a ‘domino effect’ on the Northern Ireland economy.
Last month, GMB members working for Bombardier lobbied Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith to ask for more action to safeguard their jobs.
Michael Mulholland, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “GMB is heading to Brussels to demand action from the EU over this attack on our members in Bombardier.
“The EU took a firm response in 2002 when the US imposed punitive tariffs on EU steel exports, predominantly hitting the UK.
“Given the circumstances are similar in relation to Bombardier, GMB would anticipate the EU Commission will impose similar retaliatory tariff action on US imports to the EU. GMB’s delegation will speak directly to MEPs and trade officials about what action can be taken against the inaction of the Conservative Government and the aggressive move by the Trump Administration.
“Fears are running high that this farcical situation may be a blueprint for future UK trade deals with the US post-Brexit. But this is not just a UK problem – we will warn officials that aggressive US action against our members in Northern Ireland is just the tip of the iceberg for companies across Europe.”