Ford Australia has had to make 212 forced redundancies amongst its factory workers.

The cuts, the first forced layoffs in 15 years, followed an underwhelming number of volunteer redundancies after the company announced it would be slashing jobs earlier in the year, according to The Australian.

In July Ford said it would cut 440 jobs from its Geelong and Broadmeadows plant by November as it slowed production from 209 cars a day to 148 due to the falling demand for the Falcon sedan and Territory SUV.

Ford saved 110 jobs through redeployment and in-house transfers. This brought the cuts down to 330, with a further 118 workers taking voluntary redundancy.

“Unfortunately, as we didn’t achieve the required number of redundancies voluntarily, the company is moving ahead with a compulsory redundancy programme,” spokeswoman Sinead Phipps told the paper.

Ford said its goal was to execute the redundancies in a “dignified and caring manner” and not “single out” employees. It said it would beef up security during the redundancy process but assured workers it would not be escorting people off the premises, as was done during the Toyota job losses at its Altona factory earlier in the year.

Production was shut down for the day on Friday but everyone was still paid a full day’s wage. Workers had been instructed not to show up for their usual shift and instead attended a scheduled meeting with their manager and HR representative. Those who faced the sack were given information on benefits, retraining and financial counselling and were told to leave immediately.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union vehicle division assistant federal secretary Dave Smith said the union was happy with the way Ford had handled the redundancies.

“Generally speaking, the company has prescribed to the principle we asked them to and that is to treat people with respect and dignity,” he said.

Smith said the government needed to support Australian-made cars and keep work in the country’s car factories (now down to just three).

“Governments at all levels are some of the biggest purchasers of vehicles for their fleets. And tragically, 10 years ago, the level of Australian cars in government fleets was 66% but now it has been halved to 33%,” Smith said.