ROBIN Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member and UUP Leader, has heralded the news that the new owner of bus manufacturer Wrightbus has said recruitment will start in the coming weeks as “the beginning of a new economic dawn for the constituency”.
Assemblyman Swann expressed this hope as Bamford Bus Company, owned by English industrialist Jo Bamford, has now formally acquired the Ballymena firm after the sales process completed.
The business was placed into administration and put up for sale last month with 1,200 people losing their jobs.
The 60 staff retained by administrators Deloitte have transferred to Bamford.
Bamford said Wrightbus’ new management team would focus on stabilising and rebuilding the business.
Assemblyman Swann said: “After weeks of uncertainty, we now have a very positive outcome for the future of bus building in the North Antrim constituency.
“I am exceptionally pleased that the Bamford Bus Company has not only confirmed the acquisition of Wrightbus, but has also indicated that recruitment will begin shortly.
“Hopefully this means that as many of the original Wrightbus jobs as possible can be saved. The Bamford decision to acquire Wrightbus has also saved the North Antrim constituency from gaining the harmful reputation of becoming an employment wasteland.
“North Antrim, and Ballymena in particular, has suffered terribly in recent years from the loss of many big employers.
“Bamford’s acquisition of Wrightbus may not only protect the jobs of many of the original workers, but will also contribute to helping secure employment in many of the subsidiary firms in the constituency.
“I sincerely hope this ‘Bamford Boost’ for the constituency will herald a new economic dawn in North Antrim and we have turned the corner as a constituency in terms of major job losses in the region,” said Assemblyman Swann.