BOMBARDIER aircraft builders in Northern Ireland overwhelmingly rejected a management-proposed pay freeze yesterday.
On top of the two-year moratorium on wage rises, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer had demanded that staff work an extra hour on Fridays over the same period.
The company, which employs around 5,500 people at its east Belfast factory, claimed it had to cut costs by 20 per cent by 2017.
After 88 per cent of manufacturing union Unite’s members at Bombardier voted against the pay freeze, the union vowed to seek “urgent discussions” with the firm.
“The current offer is a serious attack on wages, hours, overtime pay, shift premiums, and the pension scheme, which equates to hundreds of pounds per week to workers,” said Unite Belfast Shorts branch secretary Joe Bowers.
“Significantly, Bombardier has ruled out any guarantee of job security even for the period of the agreement.”
Mr Bowers blamed Bombardier’s financial woes on its CSeries airliner, an attempt to compete with Boeing and Airbus against the advice of the union and industry voices.
Bombardier bought the famous Belfast aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers for £30 million in 1989.
Mr Bowers pointed out that the Canadian firm has since more than recouped its investment by selling off many Shorts subsidiaries and assets, including Belfast City Airport for £35 million in 2003.
In recent years Bombardier has received billions of pounds in subsidies from the regional governments of Northern Ireland and Quebec.