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Old 06-30-2003, 06:26   #1 (permalink)
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Europe :Ford drops graduates with month's pay

Daily Telegraph
By Philip Aldrick (Filed: 30/06/2003)

Ford, the car giant, has imposed a hiring freeze across its European operations and made 63 graduate recruits redundant just months before they were due to join.

The decision was made two weeks ago because of "the deteriorating business conditions in Europe", a spokesman said. Each of the graduate recruits will now be paid one month's salary, about 2,000, not take up their positions in the autumn.

The company's financial position has been deteriorating as a result of falling car prices and declining sales. Last month, Ford said prices in Europe would drop by 1pc this year as well as dipping in the US. Figures for the first four months of the year from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that European sales have already slipped by 200,000 on last year to about 5m.

Ford insisted that the hiring freeze was not a precursor to a wider redundancy programme. "There are no plans to reduce headcount," a spokesman said. In February 2002 the company axed 1,100 jobs in Britain after closing the Dagenham assembly plant and 1,400 jobs in Belgium - both as part of the European restructuring strategy. The spokesman said the programme was now virtually complete.

The company's graduate recruitment programme has been scaled down in recent years, from around 200 to just over 80 at the last intake. Of the newest recruits, only 20 have joined. The rest, who signed their contracts in October, were notified by letter that their 23,000-26,000-a-year jobs were no longer available.

One recruit said: "It's left a lot of us high and dry with nothing to fall back on. Some of us have even committed to houses." A Ford spokseman said the decision had been one the company "was very reluctant to make". He added that the recruitment freeze will be held "until the situation improves, we can't say when".

The American company lost $5.45 billion (3.4 billion) in 2001 and $980m last year. Bill Ford, the chief executive, has embarked on a cost-cutting drive to reduce non-production expenses by $6 billion in two years.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

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