Fresh hope for Wrightbus workers following positive negotiations with church pastor and new investor

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The Ballymena operation, famous for building London buses, was placed into administration last month with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

The former business owner Jeff Wright is a pastor at Green Pastures Church and came under fire after the church received £15 million in donations from the firm when it was profitable.

English industrialist Jo Bamford announced on Friday that he had agreed a deal in principle to buy the factory and associated land from Wright.

 

There was jubilation among former workers at the gates of the plant on Friday morning as the news emerged.

Steve McMaster, who has worked for Wrightbus for 42 years, described it the best day in his time working for the firm, and vowed it will “once again be the best bus company in the world”.

But regional officer for the Unite union George Brash warned that, while a deal has been agreed in principle, there remain “a few hurdles to get over”.

“We are hopeful there will be some formal deal by Tuesday next week,” he said.

“Workers have been through the mill for the last two weeks so they are entitled to a bit of euphoria.

“It is good news but … we want to see that in writing and then get to the next stage and see how many people will get employed.”

Work is understood to be continuing across the weekend, and workers will be briefed on developments on Monday at a meeting at Ballymena Showgrounds.

Northern Ireland…

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