Dagenham ideal for new car, claims union

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The Independent Online

A senior union leader has called for an urgent meeting with Ford's main board of directors to discuss "clear and viable" alternatives to the closure of the company's car assembly plant at Dagenham.

A senior union leader has called for an urgent meeting with Ford's main board of directors to discuss "clear and viable" alternatives to the closure of the company's car assembly plant at Dagenham.

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said the company could transfer production of a new Volvo model to Dagenham instead of building the car at Ghent in Belgium, which was "unsuitable".

Dagenham would be "ideal" for the new vehicle, saving thousands of jobs in the plant and at firms that supply the factory, Sir Ken argued.

In a letter to Ford's president Jac Nasser, Sir Ken said it was difficult to accept that the company was set to end vehicle assembly at the Essex plant while preparing, as owners of Volvo, to train new staff, build and equip a factory and search for a stamping capacity.

"Dagenham could easily carry out these tasks. It has a fully trained workforce, a wholly owned assembly plant and a major stamping facility with no transportation requirements."

A total of 4,500 workers in the body and assembly plant will be balloted on strike action in protest at the decision after Ford's summer shutdown later this month.

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