Page last updated at 09:06 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 10:06 UK

Ford workers leave after job cuts

Ford Transits
Ford has blamed a fall in commercial van sales for the halt in production

More than 500 Ford workers at the Transit van factory in Hampshire have taken voluntary redundancy or retirement.

The plant in Swaythling, Southampton, starts a three-week shutdown on Tuesday after the workers' final day on Friday.

The manufacturer announced in February it was cutting up to 850 jobs across the UK by May, blaming "unprecedented" economic conditions.

A support scheme to get workers new jobs has been set up in Southampton.

Earnings cut

Five-hundred posts have been cut in Swaythling.

A further 350 job losses will be spread across the company's remaining UK sites in Basildon, Brentwood and Dunton in Essex, Daventry in Northamptonshire, Halewood on Merseyside and Bridgend in south Wales.

Most of the 1,000 workers at the Transit plant already face a cut in earnings after the two-shift working day was replaced with a single shift.

The total layoffs represent nearly 7% of Ford's UK workforce of 12,900 - with almost half of the Southampton factory's staff of 1,100 affected.

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