Ford is to cut one in five UK jobs over the next two years, as it makes thousands of redundancies in a major European restructuring programme.
The car manufacturer expects to make 1,300 of its UK employees redundant, most of whom are based at its site in Dunton, Essex, as it cuts back on development staff and focuses on the transition to electric vehicles. This includes 1,000 product development jobs and 300 back-office roles.
The redundancies will be made as part of a wider plan to cut 3,800 jobs overall across Europe by 2025. The job losses will include 2,800 engineering positions and 1,000 sales, marketing and distribution roles, most of which will be concentrated in Germany.
By 2030 Ford expects all the cars it makes in the region to be fully electric, when sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK.
Ford UK redundancies
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Ford of Britain chairman Tim Slatter said: “Here in Europe we’ve got a pretty difficult economic situation, and the outlook is uncertain. High inflation, higher interest rates, the ongoing war in Ukraine, cost of energy and so on.”
Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model E in Europe, said: “These are difficult decisions, not taken lightly. We recognise the uncertainty it creates for our team, and I assure them we will be offering them our full support in the months ahead.
“We will engage in consultations with our social partners so we can move forward together on building a thriving future for our business in Europe.
“Paving the way to a sustainably profitable future for Ford in Europe requires broad-based actions and changes in the way we develop, build, and sell Ford vehicles. This will impact the organizational structure, talent, and skills we will need in the future.”
The Unite union said it would work to protect as many of the jobs as possible. National officer Des Quinn said: “Ford’s announcement is another stark reminder that the shift to electrification needs a just transition that requires long-term investment and planning from automakers and a proper industrial strategy from government.”
Mike Tremeer, an employment partner at law firm Fladgate, noted that many organisations, including tech firms that have recently announced job losses, have been expecting restructures since the pandemic, but the furlough scheme and Covid-19 support from the government had delayed their plans.
“Inflation, rising costs and further turmoil throughout 2022 and 2023 appear to have been the final straw for these employers who will all be feeling pressure from shareholders to remain competitive and preserve profit margins,” he said.
“Apparently up to 1,300 UK roles will be at risk in the next three years and it appears that Ford are expecting for most of those to be achieved through voluntary redundancy. Perhaps an early exit will be appealing to those approaching retirement. But younger employees might be less willing to consider volunteering for redundancy if the job market continues to deteriorate. Ford might have to consider increasing their enhanced redundancy package if they hope to limit the number of compulsory redundancies that will be necessary.”
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