Government acts to save Ford plant
Monday 15 February 1999
Alun Michael, Secretary of State for Wales, is preparing to fly to the company's Detroit headquarters in an attempt to persuade main board directors to invest in the plant which produces engines for a wide range of cars. The plant employs 1,500 workers, but more than 2,000 jobs are directly linked to the plant, located in an unemployment black spot in mid-Glamorgan.
Concern has so far centred on Ford's Dagenham plant because of disappointing sales of the Fiesta. The Essex complex has been on a four-day week since October and short time working is expected to continue until Easter when there will be a three-week shutdown instead of the usual three days. Now, however, concern will switch to the future of the Welsh plant.
The Bridgend plant currently produces Zetec engines for models varying from the Fiesta to the Granada, but the company intends to introduce the I4-I5 engine to replace it.
"If Bridgend gets the new engine it will be secure, but if it doesn't, it will close. It's as simple as that," said one senior union source.
Ford has invested heavily in its complexes at Valencia in Spain and Cologne in Germany, but there are no signs yet of a long-term financial commitment towards Bridgend.
It is feared that management might choose to build the new engine in Cologne at Bridgend's expense. The company has already decided to invest pounds 150m in the German plant where unions have recently signed a radical agreement to introduce flexible working practices to secure the plant's viability.
In a recent visit to Wales Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, toured the Bridgend plant as a gesture of support for its future and Mr Michael's trip to Detroit will underline the Government's concern.
It is thought that the Welsh Secretary will remind Ford directors of the importance of the plant to the area and will set out the financial incentives available to Ford if they chose the mid-Glamorgan works.
Doug Collins, national officer at the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, emphasised that the Welsh plant needed the new engine in order to secure its long-term future.
- 1 Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
- 2 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 3 Black Mass trailer: Johnny Depp might have started making good films again
- 4 Jacob Lescenski and Anthony Martinez: Straight student asks gay friend to High School prom and makes a million Twitter friends
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Head transplant: man will be attached to new body in under an hour and aim is immortality, doctor says
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...