Ford’s engine plant in Bridgend will close in September 2020, union sources have said.
There are fears for around 1,700 jobs at the plant and a formal announcement is expected later on Thursday.
One worker told the BBC before the news was confirmed that he was “devastated” by the speculation, adding: “South Wales is going to be like a ghost town.”
Union sources said Ford bosses spent much of the meeting explaining how much cheaper it was to build engines at its plant in Mexico compared with Bridgend.
The Bridgend site opened in 1980, covers an area of 60 acres, and is one of Wales’s major employers. It has been manufacturing engines for 40 years.
The factory has been under threat because of falling demand for the two engines it makes, and lower projections for the Dragon engine it is scheduled to start making this year.
GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said: “We’re hugely shocked by today’s announcement, it’s a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.
“Regardless of today’s announcement, GMB will continue to work with Ford, our sister unions and the Welsh Government to find a solution to the issue and to mitigate the effects of this devastating news.”
Workers were being given the news at briefings inside the plant and are then expected to leave for the day.
The news comes as Honda prepares to shut its Swindon plant in 2021, while fellow Japanese car-maker Nissan reversed a decision to build its new X-Trail vehicle at its Sunderland plant.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors, is also cutting jobs.
Ford also has another engine plant in Dagenham, Essex, and a plant making transmissions in Halewood, Liverpool.
Ford announced last month that it was cutting 7,000 white collar jobs worldwide, with up to 550 expected in the UK.
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Real home: Downsizer family cottage on NSW coast
The team from Lover Dreamers is back but unlike their last renovation, this one is on Australian soil (Davistown on the NSW Central Coast) and is an intentionally much smaller home. “We wanted to simplify and minimalise our home life to have more time for each other and the other things in life that we love,” says Rachael Gowling, who lives in the home with her husband and two children.
“We had built large houses in the past with all the extras we thought we needed at that time, such as walk-in wardrobes, ensuites, kids’ play rooms, additional lounge rooms, butlers’ pantries, reading nooks, additional kitchenettes and bar areas. But the truth is that we really disliked having such a large house.”
Never ending upkeep aside, the family found they didn’t use all the rooms in their last, much larger, home either. “We also didn’t like that our young kids were out of sight or downstairs where we couldn’t see them,” says Rachael who set about designing this new build with these things in mind.
Open plan living area
In many ways, building a larger home is easier – it’s only when you’ve got space constraints that you are really forced to consider exactly what you need. “With this build, we thought carefully about the spaces we actually need to live comfortably but not feel cramped. This house design was about creating as much functional space and maximising on storage solutions as possible on a small scale,” says Rachael who is so enamoured with her new smaller home that she can’t imagine ever living in a large house again.
The L-shaped living area is the centre of the home – pitched ceilings and corner stacking sliding doors disappear into the walls when the family want to open it up to the undercover alfresco area. “Again, it’s not a large space but with all of the design features combined, it feels very spacious. The indoor and outdoor area flow seamlessly. It’s the hub of our home,” says Rachael.
The family came up with the initial house design themselves before enlisting a draftsman and its cottage feel belies that it’s a new build. “We wanted to create a small home that was practical for our family to live in but we also wanted to create a home that had character and fit in with the older cottages in the area,” says Rachael.
Flooring Xtra was a major part of this project (their products feature throughout), along with their ambassador, interior designer James Treble, who came along to view the finished result.
“It’s been a great pleasure visiting Rachael and Andrew during the construction of their beautiful coastal home and following their selection journey, and the final results speak for themselves! It’s a beautiful beach home that is so welcoming, and the well-considered finishes from the flooring, right through to their colour choices, cabinetry selections and accessories has resulted in a fully realised vision of their original concepts for their new Australian coastal home,” says James.
Interior designer James Treble with Rachael and Andrew Gowling during the construction process
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