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Southampton reeling after Ford announcement

The leader of Southampton City Council will meet the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on Monday after it was announced 500 workers at the Ford factory will lose their jobs next summer.

It's the latest in a line of cuts from major employers in the city. In the last eight years, more than three thousand 400 people have lost their jobs from these big name companies. Including Vosper Thornycroft, British American Tobacco and British Gas.

It's a bleak picture - as our correspondent Rachel Hepworth reports

Unions: "We will fight Ford"

A security guard locks the gates at the Ford Transit Assembly Plant, Southampton Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Unions say they'll fight Ford over its plans to close its factory in Southampton.

The company confirmed yesterday it was shutting the plant. Five hundred people work at the site.

Ford says they'll be offered positions at other locations.

Southampton City Council is due to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the job losses.

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Ford staff devastated at factory closure

Southampton's Ford Factory IS closing and five hundred workers will lose their jobs when the last transit van rolls off the production line next year.

The official announcement was made to staff at midday. It's a massive blow for Southampton that has fought hard to keep production of Ford Transit vans in the City.

Around two point two million Transits have been made at the Plant since 1972. But production has been scaled down over the past four years. 66 thousand vans were made there in 2008 - compared to 28 thousand last year.

However staff were told they would be offered work at other Ford factories if they were willing to move.

Union accuses Ford of "betrayal"

Unite has accused Ford of betraying its workforce in Southampton and Dagenham and has vowed to fight the closures announced today.

Ford has announced the end of production of the renowned transit van at its plant in Southampton by 2013 and the closure of its stamping and tooling facility in Dagenham with a total loss of around1500 jobs and more in the supply chain.

"Ford has betrayed its workforce and its loyal customer base. Unite is going to fight these closures. This announcement has been handled disgracefully.

"Only a few months ago Ford was promising staff a new transit model for Southampton in 2014.

"The Transit has been the best-selling van in the UK for over a quarter of a century. It has a future in the UK if this government is prepared to fight for real jobs and persuade Ford to keep manufacturing vehicles in the UK. "

– Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

There will be a mass meeting of workers from Southampton on Monday 29 October.

Ford plan to cut 1,400 jobs slammed

Workers leave the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton after being told that the site will close. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Car giant Ford has been attacked by unions after announcing plans to close its Transit van factory in Southampton and stamping and tooling site in Dagenham with the total loss of around 1,400 jobs.

The grim news was given to union chiefs and workers at meetings with the company.

It was described as "devastating" by officials, and workers at Southampton were sent home for the day.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey accused Ford of betraying its workforce and said the announcement had been handled "disgracefully".

He added: "Only a few months ago Ford was promising staff a new Transit model for Southampton in 2014. The planned closures will really hurt the local economies and the supply chain will be badly hit - up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk."

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: "This is devastating news for the workers in Southampton and Dagenham and is very bad news for UK manufacturing.

"Ford's track record in Britain is one of broken promises and factory closures. There will be a feeling of shock and anger, and Ford's commitment on investment will cut little ice."

Ford said its UK operations will remain a centre of excellence for powertrain development and production, including plans to add a new generation two-litre diesel engine in Dagenham to power Ford vehicles from 2016.

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Southampton factory closure - Ford statement

Ford will continue to develop its UK operations as a centre of excellence for powertrain development and production. A new, next-generation, low-CO2 2.0-litre diesel engine is to be built in Dagenham that will power future Ford vehicles from 2016.

As part of the restructuring of its European operations, Ford plans to close two facilities in the UK in mid-2013 – its vehicle assembly plant in Southampton, which builds the current Transit, and its operations in Dagenham, which supplies the Southampton assembly plant and other plants.

The new engine will be designed and engineered at the Dunton technical Centre in Essex.

All UK separations are to be voluntary: affected employees in Southampton and Dagenham will be redeployed or offered separation terms.

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