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McKay slams Wrightbus threat to remove manufacturing jobs from Ballymena

4 March, 2008


North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has slammed the Wright Group in Ballymena after a letter was issued to employees asking Trade Union members to withdraw a ballot or the company would "reconsider our manufacturing strategy if the threat of industrial action hangs over a new bonus scheme".

Mr McKay said:

"The letter that the Wright Group has issued to its employees is being interpreted by many workers as a threat toward workers that are organised into Trade Unions that the company would take manufacturing operations to countries such as India, Hungary and the USA.

"Trade Union members are entitled to hold ballots and the Wright Group should engage constructively with its employees and Trade Union representatives to resolve problems rather than engage in scaremongering which is what this letter is really about.

"I will be raising this disgraceful behaviour with both the Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy and the Dublin Government, who presently have contracts with the Wright Group.

"Many workers at the factory have told me that they find the content of this letter outrageous, and they are right. These bully boy tactics are unacceptable, the Wright Group should engage constructively with their workers and Trade Union representatives and treat them with respect." ENDS

Note to Editors

The aforementioned letter was sent to all Wright Group employees on 27th February 2008. Part of the letter reads:

"Now as we look forward to better times the Wright family cannot understand why less than 25% of the workforce want to take a backward step which could threaten the livelihood of the whole group.

"We have recently examined the possibility of outsourcing some of our manufacturing operations to other countries such as India, Hungary and the USA. It would be easy to go down this path, as many of our competitors have already done. Whilst the Wright family has always resisted such moves, preferring to remain in Ballymena, we will reconsider our manufacturing strategy if the threat of industrial action hangs over a new bonus scheme that is already working well and which can improve further if everyone gives it a proper chance.

"…We ask Trade Union members to withdraw the ballot and to re-commit along with management to ensuring the fair and beneficial application of the new bonus scheme.

"With your support we can put the difficulties and uncertainties of last year behind us. Without it, we will reconsider the contract under negotiation and look at other options for fulfilling future orders."

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