Following the news that Caterpillar are to close their factory in the Monkstown area, Councillor William McCandless has asked the Stormont Executive where, and what their strategy is to bring new skilled jobs to Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community, Councillor McCandless, who worked for Caterpillar for 15 years said : “Caterpillar has been under a major restructuring programme for the past year and I realise N. Ireland is not the only area which has faced job losses.”
“I have worked in all of Caterpillar’s manufacturing sites over my 15 years of employment with the firm and I was always impressed by the calibre of people I worked with, their ingenuity, industriousness, resourcefulness and collaboration was always what brought more product to be developed here. Their workforce is second to none.
The loss of up to 250 jobs and the closure of the Monkstown facility is devastating news and I feel genuine sympathy for those affected, many of whom I will know.”
“Caterpillar has come through 4 devastating years with the downturn in the mining and oil sectors. A large percentage of generator manufacturing was transferred to China for economic reasons. All of these factors are contributing to their current dilemma.”
“However for all these skilled workers where we have seen redundancies – JTI / Gallahers, Bombardier, Michelin, and Caterpillar we must ask our Executive at Stormont – what will we do for them? Where and what is our strategy for bringing new skilled jobs into N. Ireland.”
“I long for the day when MLAs and Ministers are standing cutting the ribbon at the opening of new factories, not standing wringing their hands when they are closing.”