Foster wasn’t Wright about impact of recession…

TRADE Minister Arlene Foster, three weeks ago:

The achievements of Wrightbus show that companies can achieve growth by diversifying markets, focusing on new product development and by forming strategic partnerships that enable them quickly to access business opportunities as they develop abroad. Wrightbus continues to win substantial business because it is focused on key customers in its target markets. This contract also shows that, despite the current difficult economic conditions, local manufacturers in sectors such as engineering can compete, and, above all, succeed in export markets, taking advantage, for instance, of the favourable sterling exchange rate.

Arlene Foster, yesterday, after Wrightbus announced it was making 235 workers, a quarter of its workforce, redundant:

This is very disappointing and shocking news, not only for the company but particularly for those individual workers who face redundancy. Today’s decision is in response to the current economic recession and bears no reflection on the calibre of the workforce who have delivered high quality products to international markets over the years.

  • picador

    I can’t help wondering did yer man keep his job.

    Randalstown, Sons of Ulster, 40 rounds of ammo in his desk, etc.

    But I know that’s unfair to the 235 people who are losing their jobs.

  • The Raven

    “Arlene Foster, yesterday, after Wrightbus announced it was making 235 workers, a quarter of its workforce, redundant:”

    ….you mean, she was actually in the country…??

  • Dave

    It reminds me of Thermo King inviting Michael Martin, then Minister for Enterprise, to its HQ in Galway last year to announce the creation of 19 new IDA-sponsored jobs. Naturally, Mr Martin invited the media along to share the good news with the public.

    Sadly, Thermo King neglected to tell the minister when they issued the invite that they were making up to one hundred contract workers redundant three days’ after his attendance. That left the minister with egg all over his face when the RTE cameras returned posthaste to Thermo King’s Galway HQ to share the not-so-good news with the public, and to contrast it with the happy events three days’ earlier.

    Who’d be a politician, eh?

  • fair_deal

    BG

    I think you are mistaken on this one. Wrightbus were competitive that is how they won that contract mentioned 3 weeks ago. The cancellation of a different contract is nothing to do with the competitiveness of Wrighbus but problems the purchaser is facing.

    Raven

    “….you mean, she was actually in the country…??”

    Yeah bloody disgrace imagine trying to get trade and investment by going to other countries, can’t the lazy swine just come to us.

  • Does anybody here know what was the contract that was cancelled? It would be interesting to know if it was a ‘sterling’ or a non-sterling contract, because if it was a non-sterling contract then Wrightbus may have even bigger problems recovering if sterling regains any value.

  • Apropos of nothing, did anybody else notice the contact information on Wrightbus’s press release?

    http://www.wrightbus.com/site/download.asp?CATID=9&FILE=AlphaPressReleasefinal.doc

    None other than Blogger Conall McDevitt of oconallstreet fame: (http://oconallstreet.com/about-conall/)

    So far, though, it seems that Conall has kept his professional life slightly separate from his blogging life, as no mention of Wrightbus is to be found on his blog.

  • Dec

    Yeah bloody disgrace imagine trying to get trade and investment by going to other countries, can’t the lazy swine just come to us.

    Much of that going on at the moment is there, new multinationals setting up shop here?

  • frustrated democrat

    I understand one was in the UK and the other in the Middle East, possibly Dubai where they have their own cash flow problems.

    It seems both were due to cash flow of the customers and that the contracts may be renegotiated at some point in the future if the cash flows improve.

    It therefore appears that neither Wright’s nor their products were anything to do with the cancellations, it doesn’t make much difference to those made redundant unfortunately.

  • Neil

    In British or American politics, they’d call Arlene’s conflicting statements an unfortunate mistake. Here in Northern Ireland we can just call the Assembly an unfortunate mistake, which is bound to be better than focusing on the individual mistakes. Like Sammy Wilson or Catriona Ruane.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    Even in downturns FDI does not cease and it becomes even more competitive to get.

  • Sky Blue

    Arlene speech sounds just like Willie McCrea’s on his “Make my stomach sick”one.
    Its know as DUP/SF speak

  • jim wright

    People seem to get great pleasure in the wrightbus news.you dont need to be rocket scientist to work out who.Why bring in the guy with the rounds into argument.Still don,t see people shouting about south derry coachworks make up of employees.nearly 100 percent catholic. the loss of work at wrights is down to the global downturn and NOTHING else,

  • McGrath

    BG

    I think you are mistaken on this one.

    Posted by fair_deal on Feb 25, 2009 @ 09:30 AM

    That depends on if Wrightbus knew about 235 redundancies 3 weeks ago when Mrs Foster was reciting her set piece. More to the point is if they didn’t know about 235 redundancies within 3 weeks, that speaks volumes about the sales management of the organization.

  • jim wright

    one of the orders was only cancelled sunday past.it was for large amount of buses that would have seen us through these hard times.you cant blame anybody in wrights for that .it was totaly unexpected. as the senior shop steward i belive we will come through this.

  • McGrath

    one of the orders was only cancelled sunday past.it was for large amount of buses that would have seen us through these hard times.you cant blame anybody in wrights for that .it was totaly unexpected. as the senior shop steward i belive we will come through this.

    Posted by jim wright on Feb 25, 2009 @ 08:59 PM

    You were blindsided by an order cancellation of what value? Come on now, surely someone had some knowledge that the order was in jeopardy. In times like this knowing how solid the order book is paramount. Prudence should have tempered the statement from Mrs Foster from 3 weeks ago, she didn’t make it up, someone was was blowing in her ear. Sales executives and politicians don’t mix well, something stupid always happens.

  • frustrated democrat

    McGrath

    You are making statments with no justification, 2 orders fror £200 million are cancelled without notice, no one can budget for that.

    You obviously have no comprehension of business.

  • jim wright

    TELL THE 850 WORKERS AT THE MINI CAR PLANT AT COWLEY IN OXFORD THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE 30 MINS NOTICE THEY GOT COMING.THERE WAS NOT A WHISPER ON THE SHOP FLOOR THAT THE DUBAI ORDER WAS TO BE CANCELLED. NORMALY WE GET TO HEAR SOMETHING.IF FOSTER KNEW 3 WEEKS AGO ASK HER TO TELL ME NUMBERS FOR EURO ROLL OVER THIS WEEK PLEASE.

  • niall

    Jim,

    Best of luck with getting the new orders in. Sign of the times no doubt.

    Amazing that Wrightbus are so successful, and they are despite this news.

    Good luck to ’em.

    As for Arlene, unfortunate, but politico’s will hopefully wind their necks in a bit. A bit of humble pie can do us all good.

    Let’s face it she was just gasbagging like politicians do when she went up there.

  • McGrath

    McGrath

    You are making statments with no justification, 2 orders fror £200 million are cancelled without notice, no one can budget for that.

    You obviously have no comprehension of business.

    Posted by frustrated democrat on Feb 25, 2009 @ 09:35 PM

    I don’t know you nor can I gauge your business acumen and wisely choose not to on the basis of a few sentences.

    However any business that gets 200M dropped off their order book without a clue that it is going to happen and in fact puts on a dog and pony show 3 weeks previous is either being dishonest or just hasn’t a clue.

    My justification comes from owning several manufacturing businesses and managing substantial international business. We have examined our order books closely and are bracing ourselves for all eventualities. We don’t know hat the outcome will be, but for damned sure all dog and pony shows have been cancelled. Send me an e-mail to gregincal@earthlink.net and I will enlighten you.

    I wish Wrightbus the very best, I hope they make it through, but they have shown a serious lack of prudence. Its that Northern Ireland ego getting it the way yet again.

  • picador

    JW,

    Why bring in the guy with the rounds into argument?
    Cos I want to know if he got his job back.

  • The Raven

    “Yeah bloody disgrace *SNIP* come to us.”

    Yes…yes, errr sorry if such a throwaway remark got y’all riled up like that.

    Rather than get engaged in a full-on shoutie thing in here, drop me a line at the email above, and I’ll pass you on some cut-and-pastry from a report which was looking at INI work with local companies – they, being the ones that don’t require trips to Denmark, New Zealand, Americay and so on. Mrs Foster has some *serious* fence-mending to do with the LOCAL business community. And hey! The mileage costs will be so much less than British Airways.

    McGrath, just as an aside, and not having any bearing on your business status, I am tending in this case, and in these times, to stand with the shop steward.

    Two companies I have very distant dealings with have recently been “blindsided” by just such cancellations. They’re NOT manufacturing, and not in the same financial league as mentioned above; however, the cancellations came completely out of the blue, both from fairly healthy companies – I relay this story because I was surprised at the exact same words being used by both the cancelling companies when asked for a reason: “cold feet”. Which I suppose in this climate, is as valid a reason as any.

    Cold feet certainly means prudence for the potential ordering companies, but cold feet have so far cost service orders of around £2m, and 28 people their jobs. It happens. Kudos to you for being so prepared. I trust you weather the storm.

    Being from an area which has had some of the highest redundancies in the UK lately, I’d also like to wish Wright’s the very best of luck, and hope the future brings some financial cheer.

    We don’t see much of Arlene where I’m from.

  • Dave

    There aren’t any business models that have contingency margins that can absorb the shortfalls in sales that many companies are now experiencing, and that hits all the harder in capital intensive manufacturing companies such as this one. As the UK’s biggest coachbuilder, this is a business that NI can be proud of. Hopefully it will ride out the storm.

  • McGrath

    Posted by The Raven on Feb 26, 2009 @ 12:06 AM

    I’ll let you know how it goes. In the time I’ll stick to my policy of not engaging politicians for business publicity.

  • jim wright

    to the people who posted their support thanks.to the rounds man. don,t you read the news

  • skullion

    Jim why so defensive?No one posting here has taken pleasure at these terrible job losses so what’s your point?What has South Derry Coachworks got to do with the job losses at Wrightbus?

  • ZoonPol

    Boris did promise to do away with ‘bendy’ buses and I am this policy will be reflected in future orders for Wrightbus and other equivalent businesses.
    As for Foster we now know with the (non) Environmental Sammy affair that he is immune from the respective committee voting of no-confidence. This is now precedent that:

    The Northern Ireland Assembly now appears to be a gravy train for those who have the gift of the gab and wish a salary that more than exceeds the average within the 6-counties –
    I use the SF PR accepted form as to me a Party that sits in an Assembly that acknowledges The Crown as supreme and has a double-mandate but fails to represent all of their constituents at Parliament are supreme hypocrites and as fault as those that do nothing at all to stop it.

  • fair_deal
  • jim wright

    NOT BEING DEFENSIVE. IM JUST FED UP WITH PEOPLE ATTACKING WRIGHTS AT EVERY TURN. SOME COMMENTS SEEMED TO GLOAT AT OUR DEMISE.MY POINT ABOUT SDCW IS NO ONE EVER QUESTIONS THEIR MAKE UP OF EMPLOYEES.YET WRIGHTS ARE ALWAYS ATTACKED ON THIS ISSUE.MAYBEE WRONG FORUM TO SOUND OFF ABOUT IT