The Welsh government has pledged to join Unite officials on a delegation to meet with the highest levels of car manufacturer Ford in the US over the future of the firm’s Bridgend site.
Bridgend is set to close next year with the loss of 1,700 jobs, even though Ford admits that the Dragon engine platform produced at the site has a bright future in the UK and European market.
Following a meeting with the first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, yesterday (October 15), Unite regional secretary for Wales Peter Hughes said, “Unite is determined to do all we can to ensure Ford Bridgend maintains a level of viable production.
“We’ve now got support from the Welsh government to send a joint trade union and Welsh government delegation to the highest levels of Ford in the USA and take our ‘We Built Ford’ campaign to the next level.”
Ford plans to manufacture engines at a lower cost in Mexico and ship them half way around the world back into the European market.
“This plan to maximise profits flies in the face of Ford’s commitment to the UK and is completely contrary to its supposed green credentials,” said Hughes.
“I am certain that the proud and loyal workforce at Bridgend will continue to show in the coming months that the performance of the plant warrants Ford Global taking another look at its proposals for Bridgend. It is on this basis that we will be arguing for a future for Ford Bridgend when we visit the US in the very near future”.
Unite’s Bridgend convenor Andrew Pearson also attended the meeting and said Welsh ministers had been “very supportive”.
He said, “We have to do everything we can to change the company’s mind and keep a future for the plant in Bridgend. If we have to go out to America with the Welsh government and speak to Ford CEO Jim Hackett then that’s what we’ll do. We have a robust strategy and a plan in place, we’ll ask the right questions and give Ford the right information to keep a future for Bridgend.”