Ford to shut UK engine plant by September 2020

Bridgend Wales. Ford are reportedly planning to close their Bridgend plant putting 1,700 jobs at risk. The British car industry is facing a series of difficu

Closing Ford's Welsh engine plant is 'industrial sabotage', unions say

Ford Motor Company on Thursday confirmed that it would shut its engine plant in Bridgend, Wales, by September 2020, the media reported.

"We're hugely shocked by today's announcement, it's a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community", Jeff Beck, regional organiser for the GMB union.

"For plants producing petrol or diesel engines, there is an urgent need to make adjustments by decreasing production capacity whilst investing in new areas of production such as electric engines, motors and batteries".

Claire Shortland, 47, a supervisor who had worked for the company for 27 years, said: "I was at Southampton when they shut there, and it's a bit of a "p*ss off" that we found out from the press".

The 40-year-old plant in South Wales will close in September 2020, affecting jobs in companies supplying goods and services to the plant, and delivers another huge blow to the United Kingdom motor industry following news that Honda is to shut its factory in Swindon, while other firms are cutting back.

"Ford is the jewel in the crown of the vehicle industry - which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector - so the implications of this in terms of the supply chain in terms of job losses is very, very grave indeed".

Nissan is also set to move production of its forthcoming new X-trail SUV to Japan as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) progresses its plan to cut 4,500 jobs, with the majority coming from its 40,000 strong United Kingdom workforce. Around 400 jobs at Nissan's factory in Sunderland are thought to be at risk.

It is expected that job losses will be phased, so some workers may lose their jobs earlier.

"Ford bosses should be rebalancing global engine production from Mexico and India to Bridgend".

In better news for Britain's manufacturing industry, Wren Kitchens is to plough £120million into a new facility that will create 1,200 jobs.

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The roles will be in manufacturing, but the firm expects to add jobs in IT, engineering, customer service and development. The company is believed to have pointed at Bridgend's coast disadvantage in comparison with other sites.

"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", he said.

Workers were being given the news at briefings inside the plant and were then expected to leave for the day.

Talks over the future of the plant come just months after Ford said it was cutting its Welsh workforce by 1,000, with 370 going in a first phase.

The Bridgend plant opened in 1980 and is a major employer in Wales.

The decision amounts to a "grotesque act of economic betrayal", said Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the U.K.'s second-largest union, Unite, according to CNBC.

Earlier this year, Mike Hawes, chief executive officer of the Society of Manufacturers and Traders, said the United Kingdom automotive industry is on "red alert".

Ford will continue to operate factories in the United Kingdom - diesel engines will continue to be built in Dagenham, while production of transmissions will continue at its factory on Merseyside. A Fiat spokesman said "political conditions do not now exist" to make the deal happen.

Fiat Chrysler has blamed the French government after pulling plans for a £29billion merger with Renault.

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