The American car maker Ford has said that there is no link to the Bridgend engine plant closure in South Wales and Brexit.
Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe told reporters, “This action has nothing to do with Brexit and the simple way to think of that is, if Brexit had never happened, would there be a different decision, and the answer to that is no.”
Despite this comment Ford told Sky News earlier this year in the event of a no-deal Brexit they would have to consider their UK operations.
Rowley added, “Creating a strong and sustainable Ford business in Europe requires us to make some difficult decisions, including the need to scale our global engine manufacturing footprint to best serve our future vehicle portfolio.
“We are committed to the UK however, changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, plus an absence of additional engine models for Bridgend going forward make the plant economically unsustainable in the years ahead.”
“As a major employer in the UK for more than a century, we know that closing Bridgend would be difficult for many of our employees.
“We recognise the effects it would have on their families and the communities where they live and, as a responsible employer, we are proposing a plan that would help to ease the impact.”
Len McCluskey, Unite union’s general secretary said, “These workers and this community have stayed faithful to Ford, as have UK customers, this is still Ford’s largest European market through thick and thin, but have been treated disgracefully in return by this company.
“Ford broke promise after promise to the UK. First, it was that it would build 500,000 engines at Bridgend.
“That fell to a quarter of a million, then fell again and again to now just 80,000.
“The company has deliberately run down its UK operations so that now not a single Ford vehicle, car or van is made in the UK.”
GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said, “It will mean disaster for both our members in Bridgend and the community at large.”
Former first minister Carwyn Jones told BBC Radio Wales, “Nobody would have thought before yesterday that this plant would close completely.
“Yes, there were challenges in terms of jobs, but there were also opportunities.”
Speaking of the closure, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said this will be “one of the most bitter blows” for the Welsh economy.
“Ford is the jewel in the crown of the car industry, which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector, so the implications of this in terms of the supply chain in terms of job losses is very, very grave indeed.”