Surprising many, the Blue Oval has announced it’s not only shutting down its Ford Transit van facility in Southampton, but also a site in Dagenham, Essex.
The announcement comes just hours after the news that Britain had hauled itself out of recession.
The grim news was given to union officials at a meeting with the company and was described as devastating’ by one official.
Next summer is the date for the closure of the Transit van plant in Southampton with the loss of 500 jobs.
A further 1,000 jobs will be lost at, as yet unnamed, site in Dagenham, Essex.
There is a glimmer of hope, though – some new posts will be created at the Dagenham engine plant which will build Ford’s new Panther engine.
It is understood that Ford will offer a generous redundancy package and redeployment to workers who want to stay with the company.
Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: ‘This is devastating news for the workers in Southampton and Dagenham and is very bad news for UK manufacturing.
‘Ford’s track record in Britain is one of broken promises and factory closures. There will be a feeling of shock and anger, and Ford’s commitment on investment will cut little ice.’
Ford employs around 11,400 workers in the UK at plants including Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales.
Yesterday Ford announced it is to close its factory in Genk, Belgium, with the loss of 4,300 jobs.
Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive of Ford of Europe, said: ‘The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford’s business in Europe and to return to profitable growth.
Mr Odell met union officials to give them the news.
Ford will not make an official announcement on its plans until later. The news emerged two hours after official figures showed that the UK’s recession had ended.