More than 700 workers at Ford’s Bridgend factory have been told to stay at home throughout December as the company idles its production lines.
The news came just hours after the announcement of a £70m investment in the Welsh plant, along with new contracts to produce high-efficiency petrol engines from 2010.
The investment – which included £13.4m from the Welsh Assembly – was meant to safeguard jobs at the plant. Now workers will only be paid their basic salary in the weeks running up to Christmas.
“It is still a worthwhile investment,” said the Welsh Assembly member for Bridgend, Carwyn Jones. “But there will be some bumpy times in the short term because of the economic situation.”
The Welsh factory’s six-cylinder engine line will lie dormant until January. These are units built for Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover - brands that have seen European sales plummet in recent months. Ford says it’s been forced to act to avoid stockpiling engines.
Around 200 employees will still be required to work shifts but will not be building engines.
“It was right to tell workers about the December cutbacks as early as possible and in person,” said Ford spokesperson Oliver Rowe. “Even if that meant delivering bad news just hours after the good.”
Asked whether there will be permanent redundancies in the long-term, Rowe said: “Ford hasn’t had a compulsory redundancy since 1967. We’re sensitive to the long-term affect this has on our workers.”