Belfast Telegraph

Ford's slashing of Bridgend factory investment provokes alarm from union

Union leaders have voiced concern for the future of a Ford engine plant after the car giant announced it was almost halving investment.

The company said last year it would spend £181 million at its factory in Bridgend, south Wales to build new fuel efficient petrol engines from late 2018.

Now it has said it will invest "an initial £100 million of the approved investment".

A statement said: "Due to the success of our other advanced-technology engines, including the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, and anticipated changes in demand in Europe and other markets, we now expect the global volume of the new engines not to be as high as originally planned

"While we continue to evaluate the market situation, Bridgend's flexible manufacturing capability means it can adjust rapidly to changing market conditions, scaling production up or down to meet future changes in demand as required

"At this time, we are therefore taking the option to invest an initial £100 million of the approved investment given the revised scale of production. This is still a substantial commitment, with projected labour requirements of 550 people."

Ford said its anticipated production volume of engines from Bridgend remains healthy, and labour requirements are expected to be similar to today's level of 1,850 employees.

Andy Richards, Unite's Wales secretary said: "Today's news is deeply concerning and must raise serious questions over Ford's long term commitment to Bridgend.

"The halving of production of the new dragon engine combined with pre-planned reductions in other volumes on site places the plant in a very dangerous situation.

"Strategic decisions such as these are not made overnight. It is Unite's view that this is all part of a long term restructuring plan across Ford's global operations in which its Bridgend operations are to be slowly dismantled."

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