The country’s largest union, Unite pledged to fight for the future of Ford’s Bridgend engine plant with ‘all its might’ today (Wednesday 1 March) after Ford bosses outlined plans to scale back production over the next five years resulting in the potential loss of over 1,100 jobs.
Accusing Ford bosses of keeping the workforce in the dark for the last 18 months, Unite called on the company to provide cast iron legal guarantees over the plant’s long term future.
The meeting with Ford today confirmed that the automaker does not have a replacement business plan for the Jaguar engine which will cease production at Bridgend by 2020. The current Sigma engine production of 511,000 a year is set to be replaced by the Dragon engine of which Unite understands Ford is planning to produce 125,000 a year.
Confirmation of the news came at a meeting involving Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, Unite Wales secretary Andy Richards, Unite shop stewards and Ford management.
A series of mass meetings with Ford Bridgend workers is being held throughout the day and into this evening.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Ford workers at Bridgend have every right to feel angry over the company’s behaviour.
“This loyal workforce and their union have been kept in the dark over recent months.
“But the focus now has to be saving these jobs.
“Over the coming days we will be consulting our members on our next steps, but they can be assured that Unite will use all its might to fight for the future of Bridgend.
“We will not allow Ford to walk away from its responsibilities. Ford must give this plant a chance and work with Unite to secure a better future.
“We will be seeking legally binding guarantees to secure future production at the plant as well as exploring how Bridgend’s production capacity can be fully utilised through the introduction of new lines.
“Brexit is clearly a factor here. So I appeal again to the Westminster government and Theresa May to make it categorically clear without delay that there will be tariff-free access to the single market and customs union, because the uncertainty the UK’s automotive sector is enduring is having damaging real life consequences now, before talks have even begun.
“The prime minister must act now to because the very future of UK manufacturing, including car making, is at stake.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 or Glyn Conolly on 07974 131771.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.