Unite union has given Ford management a two week ultimatum to announce a five-year plan for its engine plant in Bridgend.
General secretary candidate Len McCluskey yesterday met managers and shop stewards at the plant five months after Ford announced cut backs on its planned investment in the new Dragon engine but has said 1,850 workers would not be affected.
|Mr McCluskey said he wants assurances about its future and added that the union would do everything it could to save the plant, a point also taken up by Wales business secretary Ken Skates in the Welsh Assembly yesterday.
The business secretary told the Senedd the Welsh Government would work with all stakeholders to ensure the factory had a future.
A mass meeting of workers will be held on 1 March if the union does not hear from the company.
The plant currently makes 250,000 engines a year for Jaguar Land Rover and also 500,000 of Ford’s own Sigma engines but it is due to stop producing both in 2018 when the new Dragon engine comes on line.
Last September, Ford announced Dragon production would be cut to 125,000 engines a year and investment would reduce from £181m to £100m. The installed capacity will remain so production can be ramped up as required.
|In a statement, Ford said, “ We announced in September last year that we were taking the option to invest an initial £100 million 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. No timeline has been agreed. “
Commenting on the Welsh Government’s response today to his urgent question on Bridgend Ford, Welsh Conservatives economy spokesman, Russell George, said, “The Welsh Labour Government’s response in obtaining assurances for the workforce at Bridgend Ford has been clearly disappointing for the employees and their families.
“This situation first came to light in June and ever since there has been a distinct lack of action – with the unions left to fill the void and Labour Ministers even failing to obtain a meeting with the Ford hierarchy in the USA to discuss the future of the plant.
“Given that the site falls directly in the backyard of the First Minister, workers would have expected strong action and not empty rhetoric and with the unions fighting hard on their behalf it’s time the Welsh Labour Government did likewise and stepped up to the plate.”