Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 12:19 UK

Ford plant moves to four-day week

Ford Transit van
The Hampshire factory employs 1,100 people

The Ford Motor Company is to implement a four-day week for staff at its Transit van factory in Southampton.

Ford said the move, which will come into effect on Wednesday, was in response to "softening market conditions affecting the industry".

Earlier this month Ford announced it was cutting production at the plant in the Swaythling area from 75,000 Transit vans a year to 35,000.

The Unite union said it was not surprised but it opposed Ford's plans.

Ford said staff would continue to be paid for down days but would lose their premium shift allowance.

Ford spokesman Brian Bennett said: "In response to softening market conditions affecting the industry, Ford is further reducing production volumes at some of its European plants during the remainder of 2008.

"Since August, this softening in the market has resulted in a reduction in the daily volumes of Ford Transits produced in the Southampton plant.

The staff have done everything that's been asked of them
Dave Osborne, Unite

"The continued downturn in the market also required 17 days of production to be taken out through to the end of the year (the first on 1 October).

"Employees will continue to be paid on these down days, in line with their contracted conditions of employment.

"Employee representatives and union officials at Southampton are being kept fully informed.

"It is part of our normal business process to constantly monitor the market situation and adjust production volumes up or down in line with demand."

The Unite union has said it fears the plans could lead to the long-term closure of the Hampshire plant, which employs 1,100 people.

Unite's national officer Dave Osborne said he was not surprised at the move as many companies in the industry seem to be taking stock.

He said: "The company will implement a reduction in volume from 75,000 transit vans a year to 35,000 a year.

"That's the company's plan, which we are completely opposed to.

"The staff have done everything that's been asked of them.

"We think there is an option to negotiate an agreement that delivers productivity improvements and long-term job security."

Ford said it was planning to continue making the Transit panel van at the plant until 2011.

After that it wants to use the site to make only a specialist version of the model called "a chassis cab vehicle".

Ford cuts van production at site
15 Sep 08 |  Hampshire
Production review as jobs are cut
22 Aug 08 |  Hampshire
Transit production "under review"
10 Jul 08 |  Hampshire
Five millionth Transit celebrated
18 Jul 05 |  Hampshire
Transit's 40th birthday journey
17 Jul 05 |  England

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