Ford Transit workers stage protest walkout

Workers at a Ford Transit factory downed tools in protest at the company’s future plans for the plant yesterday.

Around 90 employees out of a shift of 500 left the Southampton factory yesterday at midday – two hours before the end of their shifts.

The car giant called the walkout “unconstitutional” and a “distraction”.

The factory is already working a four-day week and is cutting Transit production from 75,000 to 35,000 a year due to the global downturn.

This has worried the 1,100 staff who fear the factory could close in the long-term with production transferred overseas.

But Ford has previously said it would continue making the Transit panel van at Southampton until 2011 with multi-million pound plans for a specialist vehicle to be made at the plant after that.

A Ford spokesman said: “This is taken seriously by Ford as a distraction from the task of continued supply of Transits to customers in a shrunken and tough market.

“Any form of industrial disruption damages (the) Southampton plant’s reputation and does nothing to support its case for future investment and sourcing.”

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