Wrightbus gone into administration?
This week Ballymena has joined the list of redundant worker locations following the collapse of once a great UK company, About 1,200 workers have been made redundant, as WrightBus entered administration. Only 50 jobs will be retained at the company - the last ever UK-owned bus manufacturer based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland according to Deloitte, recently appointed administrators for WrightBus.
The company had suffered major cash flow problems and had sought an investment or a new owner to take over the firm. Talks with two potential buyers, best known for building the New Routemaster, otherwise known as the "Boris Bus", failed to reach a conclusion and deal last week. Deloitte, the firm's administrator, said the lack of a buyer for Wrightbus had caused the redundancies.
The Wright family, who founded the company in 1946 by Sir William Wright & his father, said: "global changes from diesel to electric in bus technology have caused a sharp decline in demand for buses in the UK".
In a statement, the family said that it moved work from its facility in Malaysia back to Ballymena in a bid to secure more local jobs. "These factors have resulted in significant losses at Wrightbus which our family have been covering for over a year." Media caution Government must 'invest in Wrightbus' - Jackie Pollock, Unite regional secretary
But a statement added: "It simply became impossible to sustain that level of support."
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, union officials called for the immediate intervention of the British government. Unite the Union said they sought meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NI Secretary Julian Smith, who they said they must "stand up for British industry".
Jackie Pollock, Unite's regional secretary, added: "the government must intervene to save jobs and skills". "The administrator will need to find someone of calibre and of real standing who has the wherewithal and the skill to take this company on," he said.