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(en) Organise! (Ireland) Working Class Resistance - WCR #3 - What's going on at Bombardier?

From Al S <klasbatalemo@yahoo.ie>
Date Mon, 8 Dec 2003 10:58:22 +0100 (CET)

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With industrial action looming at Bombardier as a result of management sending
home workers on a work to rule Al from WCR looks at some of the background to
a dispute which recently crashed out of the LRA with no resolution.
On August 8th 2003, Maurice Nell, business
correspondent with the Belfast Telegraph wrote:
The airline industry in the United States is moving
back into profit, according to the latest figures from
the seven major carriers. The data is good news for
aircraft manufacturers including Bombardier Aerospace
in Northern Ireland where 1,050 are facing redundancy.

Three days later, the same correspondent, in the same
newspaper wrote:

Bombardier is to sell its business jet financing
business for £212m to a subsidiary of United States
industrial giant General Electric. The move is a key
part of the aerospace company’s ‘action plan to get
back into profit after recording a loss of £280m last

So, the industry in North America is ‘moving back into
profit’ and this is reported as good news for
Bombardier workers in the north. But in order ‘to get
back into profit’, Bombardier are prepared to throw
1,050 workers onto the scrap-heap. Aye, great news!
These losses can be added to the 2000 jobs (or 6% of
its workforce in its aerospace division) lost in
September and the further 1200 lost in March this

Now, of course, none of this is Bombardier’s fault.
They are, like everyone else, merely suffering the
same downturn in the airline industry world-wide
caused by, the media pundits say, September 11th, the
SARS outbreak, the war in Iraq. Well lets look at each
in turn.

First of all September 11th. That’s September 11th
2001, folks. Now, if you bother to take a look at
Bombardiers website, you’ll discover that:

Its (Bombardier Aerospace) revenues for the fiscal
year ended Jan. 31, 2002 stood at CAN $21.6 billion.

So, only four months after 9/11 Bombardiers profit
margins are as usual going through the roof.

But what about SARS? Well, if memory serves, the SARS
outbreak affected people, and hence consumers in two
major urban centres, Toronto and Hong Kong. If
Bombardiers business focused on commercial flights
between North America and south-east Asia I could see
how profits could be affected. But Bombardier,
according to their website are:
...a diversified manufacturing and services company,
and a world leading manufacturer of business jets,
regional aircraft, rail transportation equipment and
motorised recreational products. Bombardier Inc. also
provides financial services and asset management in
business areas aligned with its core expertise.
Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the Corporation has
a workforce of some 80,000 people in 24 countries
throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To put it simply Bombardier Inc are prepared for any
eventuality in the vagaries of global capitalism. A
temporary, minor fluctuation in profits in two
countries is not going to do them much economic

And so, the war in Iraq and the war against terror.
The truth is that Bombardier are profiting from
defence contracts handed out by the US military to
willing recipients. Recently the Aerospace Industries
of America (AIA - which includes Bombardier) joined
the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCEE) that
supports participation in continental anti-ballistic
missile programmes. But not only this.

Bombardier also got the deal with the US army TACOM to
build transportable bridges for the next time the US
Army needs to cross the Rubicon (1).

Add to this the fact that the Bombardier 415 is the
world leader in putting out forest and mountain fires
(think blazing oil wells) and you realise how much the
company has fallen on hard times.

But to return to the workers facing the sack. In June,
Bombardier in the north called for ‘new working
practises’ (mumbo jumbo from our friend at the Tele)
and a ‘pay restraint’ (re: pay cut or no pay) for
workers at its three manufacturing plants. This in
spite of the fact that, according to Nell:

Demand has grown steadily in the last three months and
July produced profits for most US airlines, according
to analysts.

So, in the middle of those three months of profits,
Bombardier decides to downsize the lives of over 1000
workers. This is a month after they secured a contract
worth more than “2.2bn with US Airways for a mixture
of its 50 and 75 regional jets.

So again, four months after 9/11, Bombardier reported
greatly increased profits yet is blaming that event on
the need to get rid of 1000 workers today. Just how
dumb do they think we are?

5500 workers at Bombardier rejected a proposed
four-year agreement which would have resulted in a pay
freeze in the first year in return for employment
assurances. Subsequent talks between the
manufacturing, science and finance union, Amicus,
broke down because union management refuse to accept
Bombardier’s decision to scrap apprenticeships and
over the withholding payment of holiday entitlements.

Anarchists believe that workers at Bombardiers three
plants should be supported. There is no need for ANY
redundancies - Bombardier is not losing profits in the
north. They simply want to create more profits by
relocating elsewhere.


Welcome to Working Class Resistance. The appearance of
this publication marks the coming together of the
Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, Anarchist Federation
(Ireland), Anarchist Prisoner Support and a number of
individuals to create a more effective and better
resourced class struggle anarchist organisation across
Ireland. Together we have created a new organisation,
Organise! - Working Class Resistance, with local
groups and individual members across Ireland.

>From the pages of Working Class Resistance, bulletin
of Organise!. To distribute in your area, contact
Organise! at:


PO Box 505
BT12 6BQ

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