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February 26, 2019

Ford ends Blanquefort production to Mayoral fury

Ford will definitively end production at its transmissions site at Blanquefort near Bordeaux this August with the loss of 850 jobs and incurring the wrath of Mayor, Alain Juppé

By Rhodri Morgan

Ford will definitively end production at its transmissions site at Blanquefort near Bordeaux this August with the loss of 850 jobs and incurring the wrath of Mayor, Alain Juppé.

The move had been long expected after a prolonged and bitter battle waged by unions and the French government, in bid to reverse Ford Aquitaine Industries’ (FAI) decision to quit manufacturing at the South West plant.

France’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire recently said Belgian component producer, Punch Powerglide had made a new offer for Ford’s site which could have secured around 400 of the 850 jobs, but a hefty dose of cold water seems to have been now administered to the proposal.

The US manufacturer put Ford Acquitaine Industries (FAI) up for sale threatening nearly 900 jobs and after rejecting an initial offer from Punch, it appears it has also turned down the second offer, although it declines to say it came from Punch Powerglide.

“We understand the impact of the decision to cease production at FAI on our workforce, their families and the local community,” said a Ford statement sent to just-auto.

“This is why FAI has presented a comprehensive social plan that includes redeployment and early retirement programmes, together with measures to help employees relocate with new employers, create their own business or be trained for new career opportunities.

“We also are working together with the French authorities on a strong revitalisation plan to help reduce the impact in the local area and will share more once the details are finalised.”

Former French Prime Minister and current Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, has also waded into the debate after learning of what he says is Ford Europe’s decision to reject Punch’s offer for FAI.

“Bordeaux Métropole, in cooperation with the Nouvelle Acquitaine region, will put in place everything to contribute to starting new activities on the site and asks the [French] State to require of Ford to at last take responsibility to finance a true revitalisation plan for the site,” said Juppé.

“I would also like to thank Bruno Le Maire, as well as the business restructuring delegate, Jean-Pierre Floris and their teams, who for several months, have tried in the framework of existing legislation, to ensure a takeover of FAI.”

Force ouvrière, CFE-CGC and the CGT unions have issued a joint statement reacting to Ford’s decision, which is currently being prepared and sent to just-auto.

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