Unite calls on Jeff Wright to hand over land

According to Unite, land ownership is a barrier for four competing bidders keen to reopen gates and restart construction. Image: Unite.

The largest trade union mobilisation in the history of Ballymena was held yesterday by Wrightbus workers.

“The huge turnout at today’s march and rally for jobs and skills in Ballymena demonstrates the strength and determination of the Wrightbus workers who want one thing – to get back to work. Today saw the biggest trade union mobilisation in the history of this town,” said Unite regional Secretary Jackie Pollock.

“This is a workforce with the skills and expertise needed to deliver the technology necessary for the future – this manufacturer can have a vibrant future. There are currently four businesses in the bidding for the bus manufacturer – in all cases, the issue of the land is a barrier to their interest.”

Unite’s Regional Officer for Wrightbus, George Brash, demanded Jess Wright hand over the land to allow the gates to reopen.

“Speaker after speaker at today’s rally called on Jeff Wright to hand over the land to the local community so as to remove this obstacle to the gates reopening. Every time the demand was raised the response was rapturous applause,” he said.

“Workers are experiencing a sense of deja vu with the situation two weeks ago where two bidders were keen to buy the factory but the deals fell through as a result of unrealistic sale or lease terms. They are fearful that this opportunity could be lost. At this stage Jeff Wright needs to come clean on what he wants for the land in order to quash rumours in the local community.

“We need to see urgent action to remove the obstacle of the land but time is ticking on the possibility of saving jobs and skills. Every hour and day is vital. Jeff Wright must show the same loyalty and commitment to the workers and community of Ballymena as they have showed his business over the years.”