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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 17:37 GMT
'We're the end of the American dream'
Ford employees leave the Wixom Assembly Plant, in Wixom, Michigan, which will close under the company's restructuring plans
Many Ford employees face an uncertain future
Jim McIlreavy, 34, from South Lyon, Michigan, has worked for Ford for seven years.

He gave the BBC News website his reaction to Monday's announcement that up to 30,000 Ford jobs are to go across North America.


Job layoffs are already taking effect at my factory.

I work at Ford's Woodhaven Stamping Plant outside Detroit, where we supply steel car parts for almost all of the Ford assembly plants in North America.

We watched the announcement of job cuts on television on Monday.

Many of us are going to have to sell our homes and move our families to wherever the work is

There were about 500 of us in the room and there was stony silence when the announcement was made.

We expected jobs to go, but not as many as 30,000.

We were told afterwards that in our factory the workforce will be cut from 1,670 to 1,500.

I'm not fully sure yet if I'll be one of these, but I expect to be.

I also know many of workers at the Wixom Assembly Plant, which is to close.

Heartbreaking

These cuts will really hit the state of Michigan hard.

Anyone who has worked in the car industry here for one of the 'Big Three' - Ford, General Motors, Chrysler - knows that you can make a lot of money in this industry.

We are living the American dream here.

Jim McIlreavy
Jim McIlreavy is unsure whether he will lose his own job
But after Ford lays us off, many of us are going to have to sell our homes and move our families to wherever the work is.

That's a whole section of society that'll have to leave the state. We're the American middle class and we have roots here.

My father worked in steel manufacturing for the motor industry and my grandfather too.

If this industry disappears, we're the end of the middle class American dream.

It'll be really heartbreaking to see so many people leaving the state.

Just business

But this has been coming for a long time.

The 'Big Three' have been losing the market share for the past 10 years.

These companies have lost focus on what the customer really wants.

I'm not bitter about all this, it's just business and it's all about the bottom line
They kept building trucks, but people just can't afford to pay for the fuel for these gas guzzlers.

Also to blame is the high cost these companies need to spend on healthcare for their workers, because we've got a government that will not provide a socialised health care scheme - and I say that as neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

Obviously the increased competition from Japanese manufacturers has made it very difficult as well.

But I'm not bitter about all this. We don't blame the management. It's just business and it's all about the bottom line.

Ford is encouraging us to avail of its re-education programme so we can re-train and find new jobs. I may try to train as a software engineer.

I have a wife and two kids to support, so you just have to stay optimistic and move on.






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