A former Wrightbus worker has vowed the company will be the “best bus company in the world”.
There were celebrations at the gates of the Ballymena plant on Friday morning as news emerged that a deal to save the troubled bus builder had moved a step closer.
Some of the workers told the PA news agency that they have already got other jobs but returned to stand in solidarity with their former colleagues as they waited for news.
Steve McMaster who has worked for Wrightbus for 42 years said the company will “once again be the best bus company in the world”.
“This has been one of the best days of my life in this company, I want to say three main things, I want to thank Mr (Jo) Bamford especially for sticking with us, I’ll promise him now we will be back again to be the best bus company in the world, I’ll promise him that,” he said.
“Number two, I would like to thank the union for sticking with us too, and number three, the most important, the men, my workmates stuck together here and their families and the Ballymena people stuck together, I want to thank them all.”
Robert Beckett said he is looking forward to hopefully getting back to work.
“I am over the moon, really really looking forward to hopefully all of us getting back to work,” he said.
“It’s great news for my family for us to be getting back to what we do best – building buses.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks, stressful, but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Meanwhile Fred Hill said the mood has transformed from gloom on Thursday.
“It was a depressing day yesterday, very frustrating, today the sun is shining, mood is changed and we have had good news,” he said.
“There is going to be a meeting in the showgrounds on Monday, and maybe hear a bit more information about the numbers getting back to work.
“This means a lot to the people here, and I’d like to thank the people of Ballymena because the local community have been absolutely first class in their support for the workers here, they support us day in and day out, sent us food, messages of support, it’s been absolutely fantastic.”