LONDON (AP) — Carmaker Ford plans to close next year a plant in Wales that employs 1,700 people, a union said Thursday.
The GMB union said union leaders were given the news by company officials on Thursday. Ford was expected to make an announcement later about the engine plant in the town of Bridgend.
GMB regional organizer Jeff Beck says the news was “a real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend.”
Former Welsh government leader Carwyn Jones, who represents Bridgend in the Welsh Assembly, said “this has all been very sudden. There was no warning about this at all.”
“From my perspective I want to know what’s going on as to with the workers and want to know a reason for the decision, and to work with Welsh government to see what we can do to help the workers here,” he said.
The news is the latest setback for Britain’s auto industry, which is struggling both with uncertainties over Brexit as well as global issues buffeting the sector.
Ford announced last month that it was cutting 7,000 white-collar jobs worldwide, several hundred of them in Britain.
Honda announced in May that it will close its western England car factory in 2021. And in February Nissan announced that it would not build a new SUV in Sunderland, northeast England, as previously planned.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors, is also cutting jobs in Britain.
Many businesses are worried about the uncertainty around Britain’s stalled departure from the European Union. Executives have held back on investments as they lack clarity on what commercial relations will be like between Britain and the rest of the EU, its top trading partner.