No-deal Brexit may put 6000 more Ford jobs at risk

Closing Ford's Welsh engine plant is 'industrial sabotage', unions say

Unions have confirmed their members have been told about the planned closure of the Ford engine manufacturing plant.

Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, Bridgend Borough Council said they would be asking for "significant investment" from United Kingdom and Welsh Governments to offset the impact.

The Bridgend plant manufactures engines for the Fiesta, Focus, Kuga, Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models, but reduced global demand for the new generation GTDi and Pfi 1.5-litre engines has put Bridgend at a cost disadvantage compared with other Ford facilities, Ford said.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite union, accused Ford of a "grotesque act of economic betrayal".

First Minister Mark Drakeford said in a statement that the Government will do everything in its power to support those impacted by this announcement and to work with the company, unions and others to explore options for the future of the plant, praising the skilled workers who have served Ford over many years.

Its Bridgend plant built around 20 percent of Britain's 2.7 million automotive engines past year but a contract to supply Jaguar Land Rover ends in 2020 leaving a run of its own Dragon petrol engines which are sent overseas to be fitted into vehicles.

The 141,000-square-metre Bridgend plant was built in 1977, following an agreement between Ford and the Welsh Development Agency, with production starting in 1980. Workers were being given the news at briefings inside the plant and are then expected to leave for the day.

The staff set to lose their jobs will be given "enhanced" redundancy, or severance pay, and assistance in finding new jobs, promised Ford's European president.

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"These workers and this community have stayed faithful to Ford, as have United Kingdom customers - this is still Ford's largest European market - through thick and thin, but have been treated disgracefully in return by this company", he said.

Most of the engines will instead be made at its plant in Mexico, where labour is cheaper.

Unions pledged to resist the closure "with all their might". "The company has deliberately run down its United Kingdom operations so that now not a single Ford vehicle - auto or van - is made in the United Kingdom".

Ford is now the UK's No.1 brand in the first quarter of 2019 in terms of sales, spurred by phenomenal sales of its best-selling Fiesta supermini.

The job cuts announced Thursday come on top of Ford's announcement last month to ax 7,000 jobs worldwide - 10 percent of its global salaried workforce - as part of a reorganization plan.

Nissan is also set to move production of its forthcoming new X-trail SUV to Japan as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) progresses its plan to cut 4,500 jobs, with the majority coming from its 40,000 strong United Kingdom workforce. "The UK Government will be working closely with Ford, local stakeholders and trade union representatives through the consultation".

Ford makes around 1.3 million engines at two British locations, Bridgend and Dagenham in eastern England. "It's vital that a decision is reached at the earliest possible time to ensure that a skills drain from Bridgend doesn't happen".

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