A FORMER executive at car giant Ford is to chair a task force aimed at helping workers losing their jobs through the closure of the engine factory in south Wales.
Professor Richard Parry-Jones will be joined on the group by representatives from the company, government and union officials plus council leaders in Bridgend.
Ford is closing the factory next year, with the loss of 1,700 jobs. Last week, Unite members at the plant voted to take industrial action if necessary to fight the decision.
Parry-Jones, who was born in Bangor, north Wales, currently chairs the Bridgend-based Welsh Automotive Forum and worked for Ford as chief technical officer and head of global research and development operations until he retired in 2007.
The task force will meet for the first time on July 1 in Bridgend, looking at areas including supporting workers, the long-term potential for the site and wider impact on the community.
Welsh economy minister Ken Skates said: ‘The impact that Ford’s announcement has had, and will continue to have, on the people living and working in Bridgend must be at the forefront of all our minds and efforts.
‘I’m delighted, therefore, that someone of the stature and background of Professor Richard Parry-Jones has agreed to chair this vital task force.
‘We’ve seen how successful such task forces can be in helping match skill sets with opportunities elsewhere in Wales, and it’s vitally important that this task force in particular considers not only the enormous amount the workforce and facility has to offer, but also works closely with the supply chain in the area to map the activity under way and to support interventions that will help companies whose business relies on Ford to survive and move forward with confidence following this body blow.’
Since leaving Ford, Parry-Jones served as chairman of Network Rail for three years, stepping down in July 2015. He was created a CBE in the 2004 New Year Honours for services to the automotive industry.