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Bombardier: Belfast workers to press MPs over Boeing dispute

C-Series jetImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Parts for Bombardier’s C-Series planes are made in Belfast

A group of Bombardier workers from Belfast will meet MPs later in an effort to press the government over a trade dispute that threatens jobs at the aerospace firm.

Rival firm Boeing had accused Bombardier of alleged below-cost selling of its C-Series jet.

The US government imposed an import tax of 80% on the jets, on top of a 220% tariff already set.

The wings for the C-Series are made in Belfast.

Bombardier employs more than 4,000 people in Northern Ireland – and is one of its biggest private sector employers.

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to US President Donald Trump on Tuesday night and discussed the importance of Bombardier jobs to Northern Ireland.

The government has been accused of “inaction” over potential job losses at the firm’s Belfast plant.

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Media captionThe history of Bombardier in Northern Ireland

A number of Bombardier workers will arrive at Westminster on Wednesday along with representatives from the trade union, Unite.

They will unveil a banner outside parliament urging MPs from all parties to defend Bombardier jobs.

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Analysis: Julian O’Neill, BBC News NI business correspondent

The union Unite aims to be heard.

It will unfurl a banner outside parliament this morning urging MPs from all parties to defend Bombardier jobs.

Union officials will be accompanied by Belfast workers, first in talks with MPs then culminating in an expected meeting with the Business Secretary, Greg Clark.

Unite want the government to get tougher with Boeing, saying it must threaten the US aerospace giant with, in its words, “sanctions on contracts” unless it attends a summit meeting to settle its bitter trade dispute with Bombardier.

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The group will call on the prime minister to summon Boeing to a summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

They have also called on the UK government to get tougher with Boeing and threaten the US aerospace firm with sanctions on government contracts.

Union representative Davy Thompson said workers and the union are “hoping to impress on all the politicians at Westminster of the importance of Bombardier, not just to Northern Ireland but to the UK as a whole”.

He added that the government need to be “stronger” with Boeing and said the firm was “effectively bullying the UK government”.

The workers are expected to meet Business Secretary Greg Clark.

On Tuesday, he told the House of Commons that he understood the worry felt by the workforce.

He told MPs he would “not relent until the jobs are saved”.

He said the government “strongly disagreed ” with the US ruling and would “vigorously and robustly defend ” the interests of Bombardier.

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