A senior union leader has called for an urgent meeting with Ford's main board of directors to discuss possible alternatives to the closure of the company's car assembly plant at Dagenham, UK.

Ford are shutting the plant later this month. Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said the company could transfer production of a new Volvo model to Dagenham instead of building the car at Ghent in Belgium, which was unsuitable.

Dagenham would be ideal for the new vehicle, saving thousands of jobs in the plant and at firms that supply the factory, union leaders argued.

The Dagenham plant has a case in this situation. It has a fully trained workforce, a wholly owned assembly plant and a major stamping facility with no transportation requirements.

A total of 4,500 workers in the body and assembly plant will be balloted on strike action in protest at the decision after Ford's summer shutdown later this month.