Public meeting over plans for job creation

PACEMAKER BELFAST  06/02/2016
Rally For Future Ballymena 
A large made up of trade unionists, politicians and members of the public attended the Rally For Future organised by the Unite union in Ballymena protesting the lack of investment and j almost 2,000 people will lose their jobs when Michelin and JTI Gallaher close. Ballymena native and Hollywood actor Liam Neeson delivered a video message to the crowd.
Photo Aidan OReilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 06/02/2016 Rally For Future Ballymena A large made up of trade unionists, politicians and members of the public attended the Rally For Future organised by the Unite union in Ballymena protesting the lack of investment and j almost 2,000 people will lose their jobs when Michelin and JTI Gallaher close. Ballymena native and Hollywood actor Liam Neeson delivered a video message to the crowd. Photo Aidan OReilly/Pacemaker Press

Unite is to host a public meeting in Larne at which local people will have the opportunity to quiz politicians over their plans for job creation.

Unite has written to invite local political representatives from all parties to attend the public meeting in Larne Town Hall on Thursday April 21 at 7.30pm, which will be chaired by UTV’s business editor Jamie Delargy.

A separate meeting will be held in Ballymena’s The Braid Town Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday April 27.

Announcing Unite’s latest initiative, which is part of its Campaign for a Future scheme, the union’s Deputy Regional Secretary for Ireland Jackie Pollock stated: “Ballymena and Larne have been disproportionately hit by devastating job loss announcements over the last eighteen months.

“So far, unfortunately, the response from our political leaders has been completely inadequate–indeed, Invest NI publicly admitted that they were no longer actively seeking foreign-direct investment in manufacturing anywhere in Northern Ireland.

“What hope does this offer our members for a future?

“These public meetings are the logical ‘next-step’ in our continued campaign to secure quality jobs for this area.

“They build on our hugely successful Rally For a Future in Ballymena on February 6 – an initiative that secured support across the local community and endorsement from stars such as James Nesbitt and Liam Neeson.”

The Rally for the Future initiative was motivated by the loss of two and a half thousand jobs from Ballymena, after JTI and Michelin announced the closure of their sites there.

Mr Pollock is now urging local people in both Larne and Ballymena to turn out in force to seek answers from politicians ahead of the Assembly elections.

“Everyone knows that politicians are most likely to listen and to commit themselves to taking real action in the run-up to an election,” he continued.

“This is an opportunity for local workers, residents and concerned citizens to demand answers to the big questions from all those seeking election.

“To ask them on just what will they do to reverse the current course.

“We are happy to confirm that UTV business editor, Jamie Delargy, the man who covered many of the recent closure announcements and the crisis in our manufacturing sector, has agreed to act as chair of both public meetings.

“We have written to the local political representatives seeking election in the upcoming Assembly elections and expect to see them in attendance to answer the questions direct from the public”, Mr Pollock concluded.