The factory will be shut down leaving 1,700 seeking jobs.
[UPDATE] Ford has confirmed the closure of Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales by late 2020.
Citing an unnamed source, the report says union officials and company bosses will meet today to discuss the plant’s future, but the site is expected to close, putting thousands of jobs at risk. Officially, however, Reuters said Ford had “declined to comment” on the “speculation”.
The Bridgend plant, in Mid-Glamorgan, currently employs approximately 1,700 people and has built key petrol engines used in some of the manufacturer’s most popular models, as well as supplying power units for other car makers. Opened in 1980, the site covers some 60 acres and reportedly produced around a fifth of the 2.7 million car engines built in the UK last year.
However, Reuters says the Bridgend factory’s contract to build engines for Jaguar Land Rover is set to expire in 2020, after which the factory will only build Ford’s own ‘Dragon’ engines, which are sent to factories worldwide. If the factory were to close, it would be the latest in a line of cost-cutting measures by Ford, which has been trying to turn its fortunes in Europe and has lobbied the government to ensure free trade is maintained after Brexit.
The news comes just days after Autocar reported that Ford had stopped taking orders for the flagship Edge SUV, despite the model undergoing a facelift at the end of last year. And earlier this year, Ford reportedly said it planned to cut 1,000 jobs in Wales, with 370 going in the first wave.
In a statement released yesterday, GMB Union organiser Jeff Beck said the closure would be a hammer blow for the workforce and the area as a whole.
“Obviously we haven’t as yet had any confirmation of any closure but we can confirm we’re meeting with Ford tomorrow and a new agenda has been arranged, which we’re yet to see,” he said. “If our worst fears are confirmed it will mean disaster for both our members in Bridgend and the community at large, who we will stand by the tough thick and thin.”
The Unite union, meanwhile, tweeted: “Unite will be meeting Ford early tomorrow morning and will comment further once details of any announcement are known. Our priority is our members’ jobs, the communities and livelihoods in the supply chain that Ford Bridgend supports.”