1,160 Ford jobs under threat

The Unite union has claimed that 1,160 jobs at Ford’s Bridgend plant will go by 2021.

This is according to a leaked Ford document seen by BBC Wales. Ford is not commenting yet, but has said in the past that jobs will stay at a similar level ‘in the upcoming years’.

However, Unite is not convinced and is holding mass meetings at the plant to address the issue. It believes that the manufacturer has no future plans for the plant once production of the Jaguar engine finishes in 2020. It is now threatening strike action unless Ford provides long-term assurances for the Bridgend workforce.

Speaking to BBC Wales, Unite’s Welsh secretary Andy Richards said, ‘It’s our belief that Ford are going to have to confirm that when the Jaguar engine finishes there in 2020 there is no future business plan for the plant. And we believe our concerns are going to be realised, that two-thirds of the plant, that’s at least 1,160 jobs will be at risk.’

According to the BBC, the document claims Bridgend is underperforming compared to Ford Dagenham. It says overtime levels are double in Bridgend, adding six per cent to costs, and attributes this to absence, non-performance and work practices such as paying staff allowances they are not entitled to.

The plant has a contract to make 250,000 engines a year for Jaguar Land Rover and also 500,000 of Ford’s own Sigma engines. From 2018 it will manufacture the new Dragon engine, although in September Ford announced investment in that project would reduce from £181m to £100. The company insisted at the time there would be no job losses as a result of that cut in investment.

In a previous statement, Ford said, ‘We announced in September last year that we were taking the option to invest an initial £100m of an approved investment to build a family of all-new, technologically-advanced petrol engines at Bridgend from late 2018.

‘In addition, we once again reiterated that the anticipated production volume of engines from Bridgend remains healthy in the upcoming years, with associated labour requirements expected to be similar to today’s level.

‘Bridgend must fulfil its commitment in terms of delivery, quality and cost of the products it manufactures and – just as in the case for every Ford plant around the world – winning new product contracts depends on the plant’s efficiency and global competitiveness. We continue to work with our union partners on an on-going basis.’