Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 14:00 UK

Ford workers in protest walkout

Ford Transit van
The Southampton factory employs 1,100 people

Workers at the Ford Transit factory in Southampton have downed tools in a protest over the firm's future plans.

The company branded the walkout by up to 100 of the 500 staff on site on Monday as "unconstitutional" and having "no legal basis".

Employees left at 1200 BST - two hours before the end of their shifts.

The factory has already implemented a four-day week due to "softening market conditions". Ford also wants to cut production by about 50% by 2011.

A Ford spokesman said: "This is taken seriously as an unnecessary distraction from the task in hand - satisfying Transit customers in a shrunken and tough market."

Future fears

He stopped short of promising that workers would face disciplinary action but said the company would respond with the "right reaction".

"The plant was not fully manned and it obviously had some impact on delivering what our customers need," he added.

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

It opposed the introduction of the four-day week, brought in at the start of this month until the end of the year, in response to the downturn in the market.

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 only make the "chassis cab" version of the Transit, cutting production from 75,000 to 35,000 a year.


SEE ALSO
Ford plant moves to four-day week
30 Sep 08 |  Hampshire
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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