Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 18:28 UK

Aircraft seat company cuts jobs

B/E Aerospace
B/E Aerospace makes seats for some of the world's biggest airlines

A County Down aerospace firm has announced plans to cut 88 jobs.

Kilkeel-based B/E Aerospace makes seats for the world's biggest airlines. The proposed job losses would reduce their workforce from 651 to 563.

Managing director Sean Cromie said the proposed cuts were "very unfortunate" but "necessary to maintain our competitive position in the market".

Meanwhile, US call centre TeleTech has announced 80 new multi-lingual jobs at its centre in north Belfast.

The company, which employs around 500 people at its base in Duncairn Gardens, is recruiting staff fluent in 15 European languages as well as English.

It wants to fill the posts within the next month to cope with a growth in existing and new contracts.

On an otherwise bleak day for job losses in Northern Ireland, east Belfast engineering firm Central Group Services announced it was closing with the loss of about 50 jobs.

The company, which provided mechanical and electrical services such as air conditioning, boiler maintenance and heating installation, said it was closing with immediate effect because of the current economic climate.

And the Ulster Bank announced plans to make another 250 people redundant through voluntary redundancies across the island of Ireland, after making an £8m loss in the first six months of the year.

B/E Aerospace has struggled in the recession, and the latest plans for redundancies follow the loss of almost 100 jobs at its Kilkeel plant last November.

Mr Cromie said cost-cutting measures taken by its airline and airframe customers had reduced demand for their products and services.

"The commercial aerospace industry continues to experience the negative effects of a sustained global recession," he said.

"International airlines report significant declines in passenger traffic and pricing levels, particularly among their higher-yielding business segments."

The company is to meet employee representatives to discuss the implications of their plans.

SDLP South Down MP Eddie McGrady said he hoped the orders would be reinstated once the aircraft industry began to recover.

"I will be seeking talks with the relevant government departments to ensure proper support is given to both the company in this transitional period and, in particular, to the employees," he said.

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