Job losses at Ford on the line
Ford wants to cut 370 workers at an engine plant in south Wales in the first phase of almost 1,000 job losses. Unions have pledged to fight compulsory redundancies at the car giant’s plant in Bridgend after they were briefed by Ford management on Friday.
It is believed the first tranche of cuts would be offered as voluntary redundancies. Ford is looking to shake up its European operations. It is nearly two years since fears of 1,160 job losses at the plant by 2021 emerged in a worse case scenario.
Bridgend makes engines for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) but that contract finishes at the end of 2019, at around the same time the plant will stop making the Ford Ecoboost engine
The factory, which employs about 1,700 workers, won the investment for Ford’s latest petrol engine – the Dragon – but that will only employ around 500.
If plans go ahead, the 990 jobs to be lost at Bridgend – almost half of the site’s workforce – will go in two phases by 2021, as part of 1,150 losses across the UK.
Ford declined to confirm the figures and said it was currently consulting with unions.
It said these talks were ahead of it implementing a “comprehensive transformation strategy”. Jeff Beck, GMB organiser, said the union would “fight for every Ford job” in Bridgend and across the UK.
“We have been asking the company for two years to clarify the situation regarding jobs and it’s not until today that we have had the devastating answer.
“We have now been told 990 jobs will be cut in Bridgend by 2020. This is devastating news for the dedicated workers at Ford and their families.
“Our members there have been extremely loyal to Ford, and we will stand by them.”
The Unite union called it “grim news” and said shop stewards had been given a briefing.
“It is a devastating blow for our members and their families, as well as having grave implications for the Welsh economy and the supply chain,” said officer Des Quinn.
“Unite is fully committed to opposing any compulsory redundancies and campaigning strongly for Bridgend to have a viable future.”
He said representatives would consult with members over the coming days.
“There are a number of factors behind this grim news – the main ones being challenging market conditions for carmakers generally, a lack of a coherent industrial strategy from the UK government and the uncertainty created by Brexit.
“Over the last two decades the UK car industry has experienced a renaissance of which we can all be proud of.
“The challenge for government, the carmakers and the unions in the near future is to fight very hard to maintain the environment that made that success possible.”