RMI President Fred Maguire said: 'I am extremely pleased to confirm that we are well into constructive discussions with the VBRA, with a view to joining the RMI's Bodyshop Services Division with the VBRA.'
He continued: 'This must be the most important and valuable move for the industry for many years. It will ensure that there is "one strong and united" voice to promote the industry's cause to Government and others, and also to work with environmental and other legislation currently affecting the industry.'
Maguire added: 'For too long this sector has suffered from disparate viewpoints and, as a result, has not shown its true strength. These moves will ensure a positive and productive way forward and provide benefits for the whole industry.'
VBRA Director General Ron Nicholson confirmed: 'The directors of the Association have agreed that such a relationship would create significant additional opportunities and benefits for the members and for the industry as a whole. This would also create an opportunity for both organisations to demonstrate and strengthen the support and services, at the same time unifying the industry in a harmonious way, which will in turn carry greater weight in the approach to all current and future mutual objectives.'