Union officials in Belgium say it appears Ford has called an exceptional European Works Council meeting for Wednesday (24 October) at the automaker’s Genk site, sparking fears the plant’s closure could be on the agenda.
Only last month, it seemed likely Ford would continue assembly of the successors to the Galaxy and S-MAX models at Genk, but any axing of the plant would dwarf the scale of General Motors’ shuttering of its Antwerp facility almost two years ago.
“Now we try to find what the real agenda is – this is bad news,” ABVV-FGTB union cabinet staff member, Rudi Kennes, told just-auto from Belgium. “They just promised – that was it – ‘we got the Mondeo, blah, blah, blah’ – but nothing is written on paper.
“The Americans came and said you got the Mondeo, but there are no official documents. It does not look very good.”
Ford employs around 4,300 staff at the Genk factory, but the supplier park also on site has several Tier 1 component makers numbering several thousand more, although these also work for other companies.
Ford in Germany confined itself to noting to just-auto: “We are not going to comment on discussions with our unions.”
The Flemish government is believed to have committed EUR28m (US$37m) to Ford Genk and will be keen to hear the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting following its experience of GM and its Antwerp plant, which saw more than 1,000 workers lose their jobs.