Details emerge on Ford UK job cuts as mobility service closes

14 January 2019

14 January 2019

Ford plans to cut around 1,150 jobs in the UK as part of its European restructuring program, according to the Unite Union.

Last week, the manufacturer said it needed to reorganise its business in the EU in the wake of a poor 2018 and would look to close plants, streamline its model range and cut jobs across the continent. The carmaker said it would begin consultations with unions in countries affected by the news.

Unite believes that around 1,000 of the UK losses will come from the Bridgend plant in Wales. The factory produces engines and recently lost its contract to supply petrol powertrains for Jaguar Land Rover, which itself announced a job-cutting program last week. The factory will cease production for the British carmaker by 2020.

Unite has provided a clearer insight into the plans. In a statement, it says: ′Shop stewards from Ford factories have been given a briefing on the proposals. The plans are for a total of 1,150 job losses in the UK, with almost 1,000 at Bridgend and the rest at Ford’s transport operations, which would affect lorry drivers across the UK.’

Unite national officer for automotive industries Des Quinn added: ″What is being proposed at Bridgend is due to take place in two stages over two years. It is a devastating blow for our members and their families, as well as having grave implications for the Welsh economy and the supply chain.

′Unite is fully committed to opposing any compulsory redundancies and campaigning strongly for Bridgend to have a viable future. We will be consulting our members very closely in the days and weeks ahead.’

Ford is ending production at a transmissions plant in Bordeaux, France, and has started labour talks at its Saarlouis factory in Germany where 6,190 staff build vehicles as it considers ending production of the C-Max. The company is also considering the future of the larger S-Max model, while the continuation of the Mondeo has been in doubt for some time, with the carmaker looking to concentrate on the SUV market and its biggest sellers.

Just under half of Ford’s 50,000 European workforce is employed in Germany. The German Economy Ministry is in talks with the automaker over its planned job cuts in Europe, a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Ford will also be closing its Chariot shuttle service, which operates in the US and London, and was seen as an important cog in the manufacturer’s mobility service plans.

 The service, which picks up passengers and delivers them to their destination in a fleet of Transit vans, was acquired by Ford in 2016 for around $65 million (€56.7 million) and was expanded from its original San Francisco hub to cover Austin, New York, Seattle and London. However, the New York arm has averaged just five riders a day during 2018.

′In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly,’ said Chariot CEO Dan Grossman in a post on the company’s website. ′We are truly grateful to our commuters, enterprise customers, and partners for your support over the past five years. Chariot was built on a commitment to help reduce congestion, ease the commute and improve quality of life in cities, and since our start, we have provided our customers with more than three million rides. Also, we helped Ford build their mobility business, and their experience with Chariot continues to inform their mobility efforts and design decisions for the future.’