Union hosts election debate in town hall

A jobs rally held in Ballymena.
A jobs rally held in Ballymena.

Public interest is growing for a Unite-sponsored husting event which is being held tonight (Thursday) in Larne Townhall from 7.30pm.

The public meetings to be chaired by UTV business editor, Jamie Delargy, and have a focus on job creation policies.

A second husting event is being held in ‘The Braid’, Ballymena at 7.30pm Wednesday, April 27.

Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, has confirmed that there is growing public interest in the two hustings events his union is hosting in Larne and Ballymena, two towns impacted heavily by the recent spate of job losses in the manufacturing sector.

“Back in February hundreds attended a jobs rally in Ballymena held by Unite and these husting events are the latest attempts to address these issues.

Kelly said: “We decided to host these events in Ballymena and Larne as the logical next step in our Campaign for a Future. Our activists and lead shop stewards in manufacturing workplaces such as FG Wilson have pushed for such public accountability meetings as a response to the crisis in the sector.

“We have written to all parties standing locally in the Assembly elections requesting that they attend and answer questions from the public, and our members, on what they will do to ensure investment and jobs are brought into these areas. It is also likely that these meetings will hear demands to defend local public services and social welfare benefits.

He added: “Our hugely successful Rally for a Future held on February in Ballymena demonstrated just how strong and widespread is the demand for real action by our political leaders.

“Already, as a result of our campaigning work, some of the parties have committed themselves to securing a stand-alone strategy for manufacturing in the next Programme for Government.

“We believe such a strategy is necessary to focus efforts for real impact on issues such as high energy prices as well as to deliver the scale of infrastructural investment necessary for future success. There has been huge public interest in these husting events. The public see them as offering a way to put on the pressure for real action to secure jobs and investment. We expect all political parties will attend.”