Ford ‘dis­ap­pointed’ at early end to con­tract

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

THE Ford plant in Brid­gend will stop mak­ing petrol en­gines for Jaguar Land Rover sooner than ex­pected, it has been an­nounced.

Ford said Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which is owned by Tata Mo­tors, in­tends to end the ar­range­ment about three months ear­lier than agreed.

It means pro­duc­tion of the en­gines will cease in Septem­ber 2020 in­stead of at the end of that year.

A spokes­woman said the an­nounce­ment has no im­me­di­ate im­pli­ca­tions for jobs but they will be “as­sess­ing the reper­cus­sions over that change of time”.

It’s an­other blow for the plant which em­ploys just un­der 1,800 peo­ple and is one of Wales’ big­gest em­ploy­ers.

Ear­lier this year, the GMB union leaked plans by Ford to cut the work­force by more than 1,000 to about 600 by 2021. It fol­lowed a cut in in­vest­ment in the new Dragon en­gine, which is due to start pro­duc­tion next year.

Ford said that at its peak in 2015, it pro­vided JLR with half a mil­lion en­gines from Brid­gend.

The plant also pro­duces the Sigma en­gine for the Ford Fo­cus, Cougar and Mon­deo mod­els.

GMB re­gional or­gan­iser Jeff Beck said: “Un­less al­ter­nate con­tracts are found, this will have a dev­as­tat­ing and far reach­ing im­pact on the com­mu­ni­ties in and around Brid­gend as well as across South Wales as a whole.”

Unite’s Wales Sec­re­tary Andy Richards said the union had pre­dicted the work would fin­ish early.

He added: “The grim fu­ture for Ford Brid­gend has again to­day been brought into clear fo­cus.

“What is of cru­cial im­por­tance now is that all in­ter­ested par­ties work night and day to se­cure al­ter­na­tive fu­ture work for Ford Brid­gend.”

A spokes­woman for Ford UK said: “While we do not dis­cuss the de­tails of our con­trac­tual ar­range­ments, we have in­formed our unions that Jaguar Land Rover in­tends to end our petrol en­gine sup­ply ar­range­ment slightly ear­lier than ex­pected in late 2020.

“Given our long-es­tab­lished and suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship in the de­liv­ery of world-class en­gines, this is dis­ap­point­ing news for the Ford Brid­gend En­gine Plant.

“How­ever, as the auto in­dus­try is un­der­go­ing rapid change, we con­tinue to look at other high tech­nol­ogy op­por­tu­ni­ties for Brid­gend in the fu­ture.”

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