Recent reports suggest Ford’s engine plant in Bridgend is set to close in autumn 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs. Union officials were told of the plans at a meeting with Ford bosses which included the offer of redeployment. Workers were dismissed after receiving a letter which said they will lose their jobs in phases by September 25 next year.
Ford blamed “changing customer demand and cost” for the closure plans and denied Brexit was a factor. In a statement, Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley said creating a sustainable business required the company to make “difficult decisions”, including the need to make its engine manufacturing base suitable for the vehicles it produces in the future.
“We are committed to the UK. However, changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, plus an absence of additional engine models for Bridgend going forward make the plant economically unsustainable in the years ahead.”
He added that it was nothing to do with Brexit although he realized the company’s plans would be “very significant for the employees, their families and the community in South Wales”.
Rowley confirmed in a statement that the company will allegedly repay a sum of £11m in incentives offered by the Welsh Government.
Economy minister Ken Skates reported that he was “absolutely livid” at Ford’s decision to “turn their back on Bridgend”. “We pumped a huge amount of money into this facility and we expected more from Ford.”
According to Gareth Lewis the site is “a priority” for any inward investment. Workers at the plant said they were distraught.
“I’m expecting to lose my job,” said Tony Phillips, employed since 31 years, adding that they were “good, well-paid jobs”. Mark Lendrum, another co-worker reported, “South Wales is going to be like a ghost town.” In a similar statement, leader of Bridgend council Huw David said there is “not a family in Bridgend that won’t be affected by this” and it is a “fabulous workforce” from Newport to Llanelli.