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Old 10-22-2003, 06:14   #1 (permalink)
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E.U.:Ford bosses say jobs are safe

BBC NEWS/ UK Edition

Ford's bosses say they have no plans to lay workers off

Bosses at a UK motor plant have assured staff there are no plans to cut jobs as a result of work being brought to a standstill by industrial action in Belgium.
Production has been halted at the Ford Transit van factory in Southampton, Hampshire, because of a lack of parts normally supplied by the plant in Genk, Belgium.

The 1,300 workers employed at the Swaythling plant are continuing to report for work but are taking part in training rather than normal duties.

Concerns over the future of jobs if the action continues in Genk - where workers are protesting about plans to lay off 3,000 staff - have been allayed by bosses.

Ford spokesperson Tom Malcolm told BBC News Online: "There are no plans to lay anyone off as I speak. We are keeping a day-to-day watch.

"The vehicles that we should have been building this week will be built some time in the future, on a day I do not know when."

Mr Malcolm added that the training being given would have had to have been undertaken at some point anyway.

The assembly lines, which produce up to 375 Transit vans a day, stopped at the end of last week.

Workers in Genk have been blockading deliveries to and from their plant in protest at the massive job losses.

A spokesperson for the Transport and General Workers' Union said: "At the moment, from our point of view, we are supportive of what the management have done which is to keep people on and use the time for training.

"At the moment we are not concerned about the situation as it is but clearly there are issues we are keeping a close eye on."

Union representatives have declined to say whether or not they support the action in Belgium.
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