Ford staff in transit as van factory closes

Staff have served their last shift at Ford’s Swaythling van factory.

Ford announced its decision to close its Swaythling (in Southampton) plant last year but production has continued until today when the last of its 500 employees served their last shift at the site.

Last year’s announcement came as no surprise to many at the plant where concerns over the plant’s future had been evident for some time. In 2008 workers staged a walk-out to express their discontent with an uncertain future.

Production of Ford’s well known Transit van will now take place at a more cost effective plant in Turkey. This marks the end of an era for Swaythling which manufactured around 2 million vans during its 40 years of production.

Ford has promised however, that the factory closure will not result in any involuntary redundancies. All Swaythling employees will now transfer to alternative roles in the company unless they have opted for early retirement or voluntary redundancy packages.

Many redistributed staff will work at a new £12m vehicle distribution centre or at a vehicle refurbishment plant at the existing site.

Others will take up roles elsewhere in the UK, including at Ford’s Bridgend engine plant.