Ford van factory starts four-day week

Workers at a giant Ford factory have started a four-day week as the company cuts production in response to the economic downturn.

Ford said there will be 17 non-production days at its Transit van plant in Southampton between now and the end of the year.

Staff will not work on the production line on Mondays, although maintenance, office and other employees will work as normal. Workers laid off on Mondays will not lose pay.

In addition, the contracts of 125 temporary workers have not been renewed. The moves are expected to cut production at the factory from 74,000 vehicles last year to below 70,000 this year.

A company official said the cuts were in response to the "tough" economic climate, although he stressed that no full-time staff will lose their jobs.

The news comes ahead of next week's new car sales figures which are expected to show a big fall in the number of registrations ilast month compared with the September last year.

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