Planemaker Bombardier is to cut up to 600 jobs in its Belfast operations as part of plans announced last week to cut 2,500 jobs - or about 11% - of the workforce in its global aviation unit.
The cuts include 400 core workers and up to 200 workers from its “complementary labour force” of temporary and agency workers, a Bombardier spokeswoman said.
The Unite union said it had been informed of plans to cut 600 positions.
The Canadian firm, which produces wings for Airbus’s A220 jet in Belfast, is the largest high-tech manufacturer in the North with a workforce of around 3,500.
“We deeply regret the impact this will have on our workforce and their families, but it is crucial that we resize our business in line with market realities in these unprecedented circumstances,” Bombardier said in a statement.
The cuts will allow the firm to “align with market demand for the remainder of this year and through 2021,” it said.
It said it would explore opportunities to mitigate the number of redundancies during a 90-day consultation period.
Bombardier issued a statement announcing a cut of 400 core workers, but a spokeswoman clarified that it would “also be releasing members of our complementary labour force gradually over the coming months, of which we have over 200.”
Trade union Unite said it understood 600 jobs would be lost in a move that would have “a devastating impact across the board ... in the face of mounting threats to the aerospace sector as a whole.”
Bombardier, in October, announced an agreement to sell its aerostructures business, including its Belfast operations, to Spirit AeroSystems for more than $1bn in a deal that was expected to close in the first half of 2020.
Bombardier is facing the boot from Canada’s main share index as it slides toward irrelevance for equity investors.
The manufacturer’s share price has been below C$1 since early March, potentially making it ineligible to stay in the S&P/TSX composite index. A departure from the index could hurt demand for Bombardier’s shares as exchange-traded funds drop the stock. Other managers must also decide whether to keep the shares.
Bombardier’s shares have continued their downward spiral despite a corporate revamp initiated by former chief executive officer Alain Bellemare. The stock has lost almost all of its value in 20 years.
The Montreal-based company was once seen as a Canadian champion of the industrial sector and a source of pride for Quebec. It made everything from snowmobiles to commercial aircraft but is now a shadow of its former self after ceding its marquee jet A220 jet programme.
The company’s market capitalisation peaked at C$36.2bn (€41bn) in the summer of 2000. Today it’s C$1.4bn.