Unite and GMB unions this afternoon pledged to fight for the future of workers at Ford Bridgend Engine Plant after the company confirmed it is likely to have to scale back production from 2020.
About 1,100 jobs could go when Jaguar Land Rover V8 and V6 engines production ends this decade and the incoming Ford Dragon engine line is introduced but at lower numbers than the present four-cylinder Ford lines.
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 and former convenor at the plant, Andy Richards as well as Unite shop stewards and Ford management.
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.”
Jeff Beck, GMB Organiser, added, “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.”