Timing is, indeed, everything..

The last time the Ballymena-based Wright Group made the headlines, following the announcement of a major contract, there were accusations of discrimination from Sinn Féin and calls for an apology from the DUP.. but that was then.. Today, fortuitously timed to follow yesterday’s handshake, Wright Group announced another major contract, this time worth £8million, with the Irish Government – to supply Bus Eireann with single-deck city buses. And the local MP, Ian Paisley, together with Irish Transport Minister Martin Cullen, toured the premises of the largest independent bus-building company in western Europe. That contract might also help quell some of the dissent within Ian Paisley’s party..

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  • Quaysider

    Wrightbus has never been found guilty of any act of discrimination. Philip McGuigan has mysteriously disappeared. Draw your own conclusions.

  • Glensman

    Wise up to yourself, I worked in Ballymena for years and Wrightbus has ALWAYS been a disgrace, it is very well known in the area. But big business will never be found guilty of such a crime.

  • Quaysider

    Ah yes, “well known in the area” – that’s should be enough proof for anyone, shouldn’t it?
    Forget about the complete absence of any court or tribunal ruling to the contrary of that the Equality Commission has repeatedly confirmed that Wrightbus meets all its requirements.

  • Sham

    Wrightbus has the WORST record of employing Catholics of any company. I remember reading it on the Equality Commission’s website which it should be still on.

    Sinn Féin have welcomed the investment adding that the Irish Govt should use its position to put pressure on Wrightbus regarding its poor record of employing Catholics.

    http://www.sinnfeinassembly.com/en/press-centre/entry/330

  • Equality

    In the ‘Composition of Appointees to Private Sector’ Wrightbus has the worst record of employing Catholics in the North (2005)

    Wrightbus Ltd
    119 Protestant Employees
    12 Roman Catholic Employees
    21 Non-Denominational
    152 Total

    90.8% Protestant
    9.2% Catholic

    They deserve all the criticism they get until these figures are pushed up.

  • Equality
  • d

    The entrance to Wrights is awash with loyalist flags. What steps have they taken to have those taken down???

  • fair_deal

    Will the sock puppet on this thread please pack it in and use one name for their arguments.

  • Let’s hope they screw the wheels on properly…

  • Gonzo

    My sister’s ex-boyfriend worked there a while back, but he was Catholic and got fed up with the sectarianism and quit.

    Still, nice to know that a hardliner like Willie Wright isn’t too proud to take Papish euros from the south these days.

  • Pete Baker

    E

    For starters the report you’re quoting from is here [pdf file]

    and secondly the figures, by themselves, are as meaningful, or meaningless, as say these from the same report

    Stream International (NI) Ltd
    Appointees

    33 Protestant
    332 Roman Catholic
    29 Non-Denominational
    394 Total

    [9.0%] Protestant
    [91.0%] Catholic

    Although none of the %s quoted appear to take into account the non-denominational totals… natch.

  • Elvis Parker

    The figures for Stream are a disgrace. Can anyone send me the link to where Sinn Fein condemned them and said that the Govts should pressurise them into doing something about it?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Out of curiousity, what is the population breakdown for the region around the two businesses?

    I know in the States, “one size fits all circumstances” regulation has resulted in some fairly impressive bits of idiocy when it comes to employment — businesses with government contracts in certain regions runniing afoul of the nose-counters, claiming this group or that is under-represented, when the population of that group was near nil, relatively speaking.

    I do find the open flying of paramilitary flags at the factory gate disturbing. It’s also stupid, since it practically invites additional scrutiny… one wonders, rhetorically, at least, why a business would make such a foolish move.

  • Rosie

    Ballymena Area is about 20-25% Catholic, Ballymoney area is about 1/3 Catholic and mainly nationalist Magherafelt is nearby too, so the figures for Wrights should be at least 20% Catholic given the size of the company.

    Stream International is close to the Donegal Border but i have no knowledge of the demographics.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rosie: “Ballymena Area is about 20-25% Catholic, Ballymoney area is about 1/3 Catholic and mainly nationalist Magherafelt is nearby too, so the figures for Wrights should be at least 20% Catholic given the size of the company.”

    Alright… so it’s not really akin to, say, a manufacturing company in Idaho getting nicked for not having enough “African Americans” on staff… Are there any other rational reasons there would be a differential? For example, differences in educational profiles, location of either plant in the middle of a “stronghold” of one side or another, etc?

    I am not trying to make excuses for the Wright or Steam, per se, but if there is a rational, but somewhat less obvious, reason for these disparities, it would be easier to address the real problem, as opposed to the perceived one.

  • Peter Brown

    “The entrance to Wrights is awash with loyalist flags. What steps have they taken to have those taken down???”

    “I do find the open flying of paramilitary flags at the factory gate disturbing.”

    I feel we are about to revisit the thread of unsubstantiated allegations posted the last time we discussed Wrightbus – where is the proof?

    There are no paramilitary flags anywhere near the factory that I am aware of and since when is the public road outside the gates the company’s responsibility?

    But worst of all are

    “Wrightbus has ALWAYS been a disgrace”

    “My sister’s ex-boyfriend worked there a while back, but he was Catholic and got fed up with the sectarianism and quit”

    If however we deal with the facts and not wild allegations lets remember

    “the complete absence of any court or tribunal ruling to the contrary of that the Equality Commission has repeatedly confirmed that Wrightbus meets all its requirements”Peter Brown

  • walter

    I presume Wright brothers employees will no longer be driving round Ballymena taking down tricolours as they did a number of years ago at Fisherwick.

    How dare those uppety taigs fly a flag in our town !!

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Why bother with facts?

    Fact

    The company now employs almost 1,000 people not 150.

    Fact

    Wm Wright is no longer Chairman.

    Fact

    The company has no loyalist flags on its site.

    Fact

    It sales are c £100,000,000.

    Fact

    It is the biggest bus manufacturer in Europe.

    Fact

    It is not responsible for what its workers do when they are not at work.

    Fact

    Northern Ireland needs another 20 companies like Wrights, if it had them there would be no discrimation as everyone who wanted a job would have a job ( and some who didn’t want them )!

  • Dec

    Northern Ireland needs another 20 companies like Wright

    It would certainly solve the flag’s issue, if nothing else.

  • sammaguire

    Never heard of Wright’s before today but was glad Bus Eireann gave the business to a Northern company rather than a foreign one. From what I’ve read here there seems to be a sectarian culture at the company. Hopefully this deal will help change this (there is apparently further contracts on offer in the near future). If you want to heal divisions somebody has to put the hand of friendship out first.

  • noel adams

    Why have none of the posts covreed the crucial angle the Dup deal doubters now have to explain to voters why they should reject co opperation and do themselves out of a job.How can they sell that one on the doorstep.

  • Instead of trying to drag a successful local company through the dirt, maybe we should be concentrating more on today’s story regarding Ulsterbus in Ballymena – a publicly-funded service which obviously hasn’t a clue about equality legislation.

    I’d do an in-depth article on it if anyone could find me the full ruling of the tribunal…

  • Greenflag

    NIR sucks ,

    I believe this is the ‘story’ you referred to. Probably just the tip of the iceberg .

    Wonder what happened to the employees who made the threats ? Were they promoted ? fired ? suspended or charged by the police ?
    There needs to be zero tolerance for the kind of behaviour which appears to have been ‘tolerated’ by Ulsterbus !

    ‘A Catholic bus driver has been awarded almost £80,000 after he was subjected to sectarian abuse by two Protestant colleagues.
    A tribunal made the award to Gerald Duffy, a driver employed by Ulsterbus.

    The 42-year-old from Ballymena in County Antrim was warned he would be burnt out of his home and would be shot if the Troubles resumed.

    He also had a Union flag waved in his face during the five-year campaign of harassment, the tribunal heard.

    Mr Duffy, was awarded £79,161 by a Fair Employment Tribunal which concluded he “endured a series of acts of discriminatory harassment over a lengthy period”.

    Supported by the Equality Commission, in 2001 he alleged he had been subjected to sectarian harassment and intimidation, and brought a further case in 2002, alleging further sectarian harassment and also victimisation.

    This was a very difficult time for me and I hope that this will improve the way Ulsterbus and other companies deal with situations like this

    Gerald Duffy

    Mr Duffy said: “My dreams were shattered from what happened, it will be hard to work for somebody else again.”

    He said he was particularly pleased that the tribunal had acknowledged the reality of the abuse he suffered and the effect it had upon him.

    “This was a very difficult time for me and I hope that this will improve the way Ulsterbus and other companies deal with situations like this, so that others will not have to endure the same treatment I did.”

    ‘Unwanted deliveries’

  • You missed the part about Translink being unwilling to provide a spokesperson on Good Morning Ulster this morning (strange, since they normally have no problem getting Ciaran Rogan on to blow their own trumpet…). In a statement they said that the decision of the tribunal wasn’t unanimous and that they were considering an appeal.

    Typical Translink – they’re completely unable to accept that they ever do anything wrong.

  • Greenflag

    NIRsucks,

    ‘Typical Translink – they’re completely unable to accept that they ever do anything wrong. ‘

    Not just Translink. All large companies/organisations/political parties / are inherently hard wired for not accepting that they could possibly do/have done something ‘wrong’. It’s the nature of the beast /any beast to self preserve . Thus you have your endless ‘tribunals’ your Enron’s , your UUP your OO etc etc etc .

    They all ‘rot’ from the top and sooner or later this means that those at the top have to go . And this they are reluctant to do. Unfortunately sometimes they get away with mismanagement/ unethical behavior/practices for long enough to drag down whole companies or organisations along with them !

    Put it down to the ‘human ‘ condition generally . In NI you also to take account of the ‘ them/us division which makes sometimes the whatever you say say nothing culture even more reticent about speaking out particularly for local minorities on both and neither side of the political divide.

    Only rigorous implementation of the law -can help to make workplace intimidation a practice totally unacceptable to all .

  • George

    NIRSucks,
    This is where the Tribunal ruling will appear but probably not for a good while:

    http://www.bailii.org/nie/cases/NIFET/

  • nmc

    The guy who used to do the counter in Ballymena NIR station used to correct me when I asked for a ticket to Derry every time. I can remember a few occassions when the train was late (by hours) and he used to just love coming up to tell you. “Train’s running an hour late” he’d say, laughing.

    More recently my sister was delivering Welcome Host/ All training to the NIR/Translink staff. He tortured her all day, and it was sectarian. He recognised the surname, and that was him acting the bastard all day.

    My acute hatred of Translink and the shit non-service probably matches that of anyone here. Would love to see them being bought over by just about anyone, and sacking everyone in the place, with the possible exception of the drivers.

  • That reminds me – I must get stuck into writing that article on the Bangor Line debacle some time soon…

  • nmc

    NIR are you Darren?

  • Greg

    FACT – There are at least 4 unionist flags flying at the entrance to Wrightbus, which are usually replaced every marching season.

    FACT – Catholics HAVE suffered harassment there, Wrightbus employees did go out and take tricolours down in the nationalist part of Ballymena

    FACT – It would be very difficult for any Catholic working there to stick their head above the parapet and put in a complaint to the Equality Commission. I long for the day that it happens

  • Peter Brown

    “FACT – There are at least 4 unionist flags flying at the entrance to Wrightbus, which are usually replaced every marching season.”

    Outside the entrance – how is this Wrightbus’ responsibility?

    “FACT – Catholics HAVE suffered harassment there, Wrightbus employees did go out and take tricolours down in the nationalist part of Ballymena”

    Please direct us to the Tribunal finding of harassment or Equality Commission Report outlining this as they as has been stated previously are all positive. What Wrightbus employees do on theor own time is also not the Company’s responsibility – are the employers of terrorists legally or morally responsible for their off duty actions?

    “FACT – It would be very difficult for any Catholic working there to stick their head above the parapet and put in a complaint to the Equality Commission. I long for the day that it happens”

    Apparently it wasn’t too hard to do it in Ulsterbus in Ballymena and until someone does and the Tribunal finds in their favour all of the above remain opinions not fact.

  • greatgranda

    Greg,
    Just for information, the unionist flag is the flag of this country. It’s called the union lag and it’s not illegal to fly it. Have to agree with Peter- they’re flying outside Wrightbus’s property so not their place to deal with it. Would you object if they were flying Stars and Stripes?

  • Peter Brown

    And rather like the collusion debate when asked for the hard evidence the accusers suddenly run for cover…..