UK: Prime minister to discuss Jaguar closure with Ford
The Prime Minister and Chancellor have called on Ford to have further talks with workers over plans to halt Jaguar production at Browns Lane in Coventry, according to the BBC.
Blair also agreed to personally express his concerns to the company at the "highest level", unions said.
Staff seeking support for a campaign to keep manufacturing at the site have met with the PM and Gordon Brown, the BBC said.
Ford, Jaguar's parent company, is to switch production to Castle Bromwich, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. Union leaders said the intervention was "vital" to their efforts to save the jobs at the plant.
"Their response to our case has been extremely positive," the Transport and General Workers Union, Amicus and the GMB told the broadcaster. "The government has recognised that a breakdown of trust between Ford and its workforce could be very damaging.
"What they've done is not only not consulted with us, but gone against agreements that were struck up over the last few years" to keep Jaguar production in Coventry, Amicus national officer Tony Murphy told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday.
Ford has said heavy losses made the move necessary and stressed that all redundancies will be voluntary, with generous packages.
A Jaguar spokesman told the BBC it had always been prepared to discuss its business plans to secure the company's future with unions. Unions, workers and local MPs in Coventry had been briefed on the decision to end production of cars at Browns Lane.
Eight workers from the plant, their local MPs and senior trade union officials explained their concerns to Blair and Brown, unions said. They claimed there had been no consultation before the decision was taken to end Jaguar production.
The delegation also said that the company had refused to disclose the financial justification from the decision and expressed fears there would be further cutbacks.
The BBC noted that Ford 's plans will see car production stop at Browns Lane, with 400 voluntary redundancies and 425 jobs moved to the Castle Bromwich factory. Jaguar will also lose 750 mostly white-collar staff as back office work is merged with Land Rover.
The plan will leave 310 jobs at Browns Lane, with workers making wood finishes, the report added.