Wrightbus who are make the ‘Boris bus’ the Routemaster entered administration on Wednesday as the firm has battled with cash flow shortages.
Wrightbus told unions at the Northern Ireland factory that around 1,300 staff that they face immediate redundancy. Around 3,400 jobs from the supply chain will also be affected.
Administrators Michael Magnay and Peter Allen, from Deloitte, said the lack of a buyer “unfortunately means approximately 1,200 redundancies are being made today.”
The bus maker has been looking for buyers and two potential buyers pulled out last week.
Jackie Pollock, trade union Unite’s regional secretary said on Wednesday. “This is a workforce at the cutting edge of technological advancements in the design and supply of green public transport, we cannot afford to lose any more jobs or skills in this area.
“Ultimately if a solution based on a new buyer isn’t found immediately the government must intervene to save jobs and skills, just three months ago Boris Johnson gave assurances that he ‘will do everything we can to ensure the future of that great UK company’, he has a chance today to do something decent.”
Magnay added, “It is bitterly disappointing for all concerned that despite extensive efforts over recent months it has not been possible to find a buyer who wanted to maintain the business as a going concern.
“We recognise the companies are crucially important employers in Ballymena and this will be devastating news for those who worked there, their families and the town, which has already suffered from a number of manufacturing closures in recent years.
“We will continue to support employees through this difficult time.
“The joint administrators will explore all remaining options for the business and assets and would encourage any parties with an interest to contact them.”