ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster woke this morning to more bad news on the jobs front.
Belfast-based Thales Air Defence Ltd, which makes the StarStreak missile system, announced that it is cutting 50 jobs from its operations in Northern Ireland next year.
The French-owned company has blamed global defence spending cut-backs for having to cut its workforce by 10 per cent.
The jobs blow comes just days after the company signed a deal to sell the ground-to-air StarStreak system to Thailand.
However, the deal, signed on the back of the London Olympics when Starstreak was deployed against enemy attack, wasn’t enough to save job losses.
In a statement, the company said: “The current business environment is unlike anything we have experienced in recent years and prospects and programmes in our defence sector – both domestic and export – are experiencing significant reductions in volumes and workload.”
Thales is seeking to future-proof its business because worldwide trends see governments cutting back on defence spending.
The loss of the 50 high-tech jobs will take place throughout 2013, and the company has begun the process of briefing staff.
It said it will “make every effort to minimise permanent job losses and provide support to those affected”.