Published Monday, 17 September 2012
The FG Wilson factory in Larne (© Pacemaker)
At least 760 workers are to be made redundant across the engineering firm's four Northern Ireland bases before the end of this year.
Politicians gathered at Stormont on Monday to look at what can be done to help them.
Arlene Foster said she has already spoken to Bill Rohrer of FG Wilson owner Caterpillar, but will be doing so again in the United States next week, during a mission aimed at attracting high quality inward investment and building trade opportunities for local exporters.
She wants to see if it is possible to lessen the blow of the recently announced losses.
"Mr Rohner told me that this was a difficult decision taken in the face of increasingly competitive global economic pressures," the DUP minister told UTV.
"I sought assurances from him that the company is still committed in Northern Ireland and he assured me that this is still the case.
"I was already scheduled to travel to the United States next week to support Invest NI's ongoing work and will be meeting with Bill Rohner during the course of that visit to get a better understanding of the potential future impact and to see if there are opportunities for us to mitigate the outworkings of this recent announcement."
The ongoing push for the devolution of corporation tax control was also discussed.
While the political will exists at Stormont - with representatives arguing it will lead to more jobs being created - it is still open to question whether Westminster agrees, with new Secretary of State Theresa Villiers ambiguous on the issue so far.
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said: "An external report that I commissioned this year into the skills requirements arising from a lower level of corporation tax indicates that a reduction in the level to 12.5% could create double the jobs that would otherwise be produced locally.
"That equates to 58,000 additional jobs by 2030."
Ms Foster added: "We will unashamedly use every tool we can, and will continue to press for the devolution of Corporation Tax. Whilst this will not solve all our economic challenges it would, in my view, be a significant game-changer."
Politicians are hopeful the matter can be dealt with by Christmas.