Ford taking ‘decisive action’ to cut jobs in Europe as Brexit nears

Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday it will eliminate thousands of jobs in Europe in a cost-cutting measure it hopes will improve profitability amid the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Brexit protestors campaign outside Houses of Parliament on Thursday. Photo by Hugo Philpott
Brexit protestors campaign outside Houses of Parliament on Thursday. Photo by Hugo Philpott

Ford employs tens of thousands in Europe, mostly in Britain, Germany and Spain. The auto giant said it will cut less-profitable models from its European lineup — which could include plant closures — and re-examine a joint venture it had with Russia.
The automaker did not specify exactly how many jobs will be cut.

“We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” Ford executive Steven Armstrong said in a statement Thursday. “We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers.”
Ford said it will reduce its labor force across the board, including salaried and hourly employees. The automaker said the move complements a December decision to restructure management through a redesign of its global workforce.

The company said it hopes most reductions will come through voluntary departures, and said it will work with “social partners and other stakeholders” to achieve the objective.

Ford said it’ll continue to build partnerships like its Ford Otosan joint venture and a potential alliance with Volkswagen AG.
“Working collectively with all stakeholders, our new strategy will enable us to deliver a more focused line up of European-built passenger vehicles, while growing our import and commercial vehicle businesses — for a healthier and more profitable business,” Armstrong added.

Ford’s news Thursday came hours before Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s largest automaker, said it would slash as many as 5,000 jobs in the face of shrinking auto demands in China, The Guardian reported.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain’s shadow business secretary, said the news is more evidence the country needs to remove the cloud of uncertainty around Brexit.

“This is more concerning news for workers across Jaguar Land Rover today, who have suffered months of uncertainty, not least as a result of the government’s Brexit chaos,” Long-Bailey said. “The government needs to realize that the automotive sector from factory floor and right across supply chains desperately needs tangible support, not warm words.”

Britain faces a March 29 departure from the European Union.

ByClyde Hughes