The major Northern ireland manufacturer has today (Tuesday) announced a redundancy programme with a proposed reduction of up to 180 jobs across its three sites based in Portadown and one in Banbridge.
A company spokesperson said: “It is with great regret that the company has taken this essential step, which is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact it has had on the travel and airline industry and related market pressures.
“The company will continue to focus on winning new business as the market begins to slowly recover.
“As Thompson Aero Seating enters into a consultation period with those affected by this development, the company’s immediate priority is to support its employees at this time.”
Social Democratic and Labour Party MLA Dolores Kelly described the loss of 180 jobs as “devastating news for local people during a time of crisis”.
“Today’s announcement will come as a very severe blow to this workforce and to communities in Portadown and Banbridge,” said Ms Kelly.
“My thoughts are with the workers and their families who face a very uncertain future. I want to assure them that I will be exploring every opportunity to provide support to those affected in this industry. I will be meeting with Trade Union representatives as soon as possible.”
She added: “Should job losses on this scale proceed, it will represent a devastating blow not just to the workers affected and their families, at this time of crisis, but to the economy of Northern Ireland as a whole.
“Aerospace plays a central role in our region’s economic success, but the sector faces huge challenges as a result of the Covid shutdown of the aviation sector leading to a collapse in new orders.
“The Executive cannot afford to sit back and watch – it must now intervene to protect vital industrial capacity, jobs and skills.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Kevin Savage, commented: “Today’s announcement from Thompson Aero Seating depicts another devastating blow to our local and regional economy.
I have no doubt that this news will have a significant impact on many families and additional local businesses, with far reaching consequences throughout the borough.
“This news reflects the global impact of Covid-19 on key business sectors such as manufacturing and engineering, which will have severe repercussions for other associated businesses within our local economy.
“I will be writing to the Northern Ireland Executive to ascertain what additional measures can be implemented immediately to support this sector and the families impacted by this news today. Council’s Economic Development Department has enacted its redundancy protocol and is actively working with the Department for Communities and Invest Northern Ireland to assist.”