Ford to close Bridgend factory by September 2020
6 June 2019, 10:52 | Updated: 6 June 2019, 11:00
It's understood Ford will formally announce it plans to end production at the Bridgend engine plant by September 2020 putting 1700 jobs at risk.
The news was being confirmed at a meeting between company officials and union leaders, sources said.
The closure, due in September 2020, deals another huge blow to the car industry.
An official announcement from Ford is expected later on Thursday.
GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said: "We're hugely shocked by today's announcement, it's a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.
"Regardless of today's announcement, GMB will continue to work with Ford, our sister unions and the Welsh Government to find a solution to the issue and to mitigate the effects of this devastating news."
Workers were being given the news at briefings inside the plant and are then expected to leave for the day.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Ford's decision to shut its Bridgend engine plant in 2020 is a grotesque act of economic betrayal.
"These workers and this community have stayed faithful to Ford, as have UK customers - this is still Ford's largest European market - through thick and thin, but have been treated disgracefully in return by this company.
"Ford broke promise after promise to the UK. First, it was that it would build 500,000 engines at Bridgend. That fell to a quarter of a million, then fell again and again to now just 80,000.
"The company has deliberately run down its UK operations so that now not a single Ford vehicle - car or van - is made in the UK.
"Ford has treated its UK workers abysmally, and they could do so because the fact remains that it is cheaper, easier and quicker to sack our workers than those in our competitor countries.
"But Ford can forget about it if it thinks we will make it easy for Ford to walk away from this workforce. We will resist this closure with all our might."
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner added: "Ford will be taking an economic sledgehammer to the Welsh economy in an act of gross industrial sabotage if it doesn't urgently reverse these closure plans.
"Instead of betraying workers who have worked tirelessly to make Bridgend one of the most efficient engine plants in the world, Ford bosses should be rebalancing global engine production from Mexico and India to Bridgend. There is a global yearly market of some 500,000 for the Dragon engine and we demand our fair share of that.
"Unite representatives across all of Ford's UK sites have previously stated if any plant in the UK is faced with closure or compulsory redundancies, they would all move to a ballot for industrial action.
"Ford bosses should be in no doubt. Unite will not stand back and let Ford turn its back on its loyal UK workforce and allow our members' livelihoods to be shredded because they are cheaper and easier to fire than their counterparts elsewhere in the world."
Regional Organiser Jeff Beck said:
“We’re hugely shocked by today’s announcement, it's a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.
“Regardless of today’s announcement GMB will continue to work with Ford, our sister unions and the Welsh Government to find a solution to the issue and mitigate the effects of this devastating news.
“What makes it worse is Donald Trump is in this country talking about a possible trade deal between the UK and the US - yet when the plant closes the new line is likely to be produced in Mexico by an American company. “So much for the special relationship Mr Trump.”
Former Welsh Government leader Carwyn Jones, currently Assembly Member for Bridgend said
"This has all been very sudden. There was no warning about this at all. It seems to me that any decision, whatever that decision is, would have been taken very recently.
"From my perspective I want to know what's going on as to with the workers and want to know a reason for the decision, and to work with Welsh government to see what we can do to help the workers here.
"It's the biggest single employer in the area, I remember it being built in the late 70s. There are relatively few suppliers locally but there are a number of businesses that provide services for the plant itself and they would be severely affected because for a lot of them this is the only contract they have."
"I do know that Ford said themselves in October publicly that a no-deal Brexit would mean they would rethink their investment strategies for the UK. "If it is the worst news here, is that part of that re-think? They will have to explain."
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
“This is devastating news for workers, their families and the wider community. The effects of this decision will be felt across the Welsh economy, but nowhere as acutely as in Bridgend.
“The Welsh and UK Governments must urgently do all they can to support employees, help them find new work and protect Bridgend’s economy. However, we must accept that nothing can stop this being a dark day for Bridgend and the Welsh car industry.
“Ford Bridgend has become yet another devastating casualty of Brexit. This year we’ve already seen Honda announce the closure of its Swindon plant and several carmakers temporarily shutdown their factories. How much longer are we prepared to allow this to continue?
“This is yet more evidence we must give the people the final say and the opportunity to choose an Exit from Brexit. Only by stopping Brexit can we save jobs and protect the Welsh economy.”
The Bridgend site opened in 1980, covers an area of 60 acres, and is one of Wales's major employers
The news comes as Honda prepares to shut its Swindon plant in 2021, while fellow Japanese car-maker Nissan reversed a decision to build its new X-Trail vehicle at its Sunderland plant.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India'sTata Motors, is also cutting jobs.
Ford also has another engine plant in Dagenham, Essex, and a plant making transmissions in Halewood, Liverpool.
Ford announced last month that it was cutting 7,000 white collar jobs worldwide, with up to 550 expected in the UK.