Ford predicts over 1,000 job losses at Bridgend plant

Posted on 1 Mar 2017 by Fred Tongue

Ford is predicting that it will have to cut 1,160 jobs at the company's Bridgend plant by 2021.

The American automotive giant is predicting up to 1,160 jobs losses at the plant under the assumption that it will be unable to bring in new work. Mass meetings are being held at the Ford plant.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May, the government had begun “dialogue” with Ford about how it could help the situation. The company had not commented on a leaked document, which outlines the possible losses, but said it could “fully understand” the concern for the longer term.

At Prime Minster’s Question Time, May said: “Ford is an important investor here. It has been established here for over 100 years. We now account for around a third of Ford’s global engine production and Bridgend continues to be an important part of that.”

The firm currently manufactures around 655,000 engines a year at the Bridgend plant but the contracts that lead to that number are coming to an end and the only guaranteed work for the plant will leave it producing 125,000 in the future.

The document says that the plant is underperforming in comparison to other similar sites, such as the Dagenham plant in Essex. Overtime levels at Bridgend are more than double Dagenham’s rates, which adds 6% to the cost of the engines produced.

The overtime is blamed on non-performance, absence and work practices such as paying staff allowances they are not entitled to and regular job rotation. The document goes on to say that future work for the plant will be subject to improvements in performance.

Ford said: “It goes without saying, that in order to attract new business, the Bridgend operation would need to ensure its competitiveness, and addressing some of the current concerns relating to the plant’s efficiency would be high on the agenda.”

Off the back of meetings, the Unite union has said that workers are “one step closer to strike action in defence of their jobs.”

Industrial trade union GMB has also commented on the situation in Bridgend.

Jeff Beck, GMB Organiser, said: “The nightmare for our members at Bridgend has unfortunately come true. This is a real kick in the teeth for our hard-working members at the Ford plant – as well as their families and the community as a whole.

“These are good jobs which are vital to the economic health of the area. Our first priority is to defend our members’ jobs. We will be consulting with them to decide what action we will take in the wake of this devastating news.”