1. ITV Report

Ford factory workers to take strike action

The Ford factory in Bridgend Credit: PA

Fifty two per cent of workers at the Ford factory in Bridgend have voted in favour of strike action over concerns about the future of the plant.

A spokesman for Unite the Union said:

The ballot result is a clear indication of our members feelings and we have invited the company to meet with us at the earliest opportunity to seek a resolution to this situation.

– Unite Spokesman

Responding to the decision of workers, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy Adam Price said:

“This is yet another example of the Welsh Government failing to be at the front foot, in this case on a crisis that has been looming for many months.

The Welsh Government has yet again failed to provide the kind of anticipatory leadership that resolves problems before they become full blown crises.

The Ford plant at Bridgend is one of the most important elements in our manufacturing base, however from Tata, to Tesco, to Ford; what we continually see is a government that is always on the back foot when it comes to potential body blows to the Welsh economy.

They need to improve their antennae, their agility and their ability to put alternative plans in place to head off crises before they become a fete accompli. The Cabinet Secretary now needs to tell us what he intends to do to support the workers as they fight for their futures.

The Cabinet Secretary should be working with the unions to secure an alternative rescue plan, and should be putting that to Ford Europe.

– Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy Adam Price

It's sadly typical of Plaid Cymru and Adam Price to seek to use important and sensitive issues like these to try and score cheap political points.

Our focus as a government will be on keeping employment and investment in Wales, as we have done supporting workers and Tata to successfully keep steel jobs in Wales over the last twelve months.

The Economy Secretary recently flew to the Ford Europe Headquarters in Cologne to discuss the future of its operation in Wales and we will continue to support all sides to find a positive way forward.

Following the ballot result our focus will continue to be on supporting positive negotiations between unions and management with the aim of restoring the competitiveness of the Bridgend Ford Plant and securing new products for the site.

We have a long standing relationship with the Ford Engine Plant at Bridgend and have worked extremely closely with them to secure their presence in Wales over many years. Indeed their decision last year to invest £100m in the Bridgend site from late 2018 to produce the new Dragon Engine was a direct result of Welsh Government dialogue, support and investment.

The Ford site in Bridgend is a cornerstone of the automotive industry in Wales and we will continue to do all we can to ensure it remains as such into the future.

– A spokesperson for Ken Skates

The strike action follows concerns earlier this year that more than a thousand jobs could be lost.

Ford responded to the announcement by Unite with this statement:

We consider the recent industrial action ballot to have been premature, given that the opportunity for productive engagement, in line with established employee relations and working practices, has been and continues to be readily available.

We also confirmed approval last year for a £100m investment for a new engine for Bridgend, and the plant remains full for the immediate future.

– Ford statement