Wales

Coronavirus: Ford shuts down UK production due to virus

Ford workers in Bridgend Image copyright PA
Image caption Ford's Bridgend plant opened in 1980 and originally produced engines for the Ford Escort

Ford is to shut down its production in the UK as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The company said it was bringing forward its summer shutdown of its factories in Bridgend and Dagenham, which will be closed for four weeks.

The Dagenham plant will close from Monday, while the Bridgend factory will be closed from the end of production on Wednesday.

It said the shutdown would be extended across the rest of the UK business.

In a statement, Ford said: "Due to the dramatic impact this ongoing crisis is having on the European market and the supplier industry, we have decided to bring forward part of the summer shutdown period for our UK operations to the Easter period.

"During this four-week period, all our employees will receive payments at least equivalent to their base pay."

Last year, Ford announced its engine plant in Bridgend would close in September 2020.

Three people in Wales have now died after contracting the virus, while 191 people have tested positive for Covid-19.

Ford Bridgend is the latest automotive company to stop production for several weeks because of the economic impact of coronavirus.

Its 1,200 workers will stop work on Wednesday with the summer shutdown being brought forward to join the planned Easter closure.

The employees will only paid their basic salary.

The Bridgend plant makes engines for Ford cars assembled in mainland Europe and engines for Jaguar.

From Monday, the factories responsible for making two thirds of the cars produced in the UK will have ceased production for several weeks because of the virus.

Wales has 18,000 people working in a wide range of companies making parts for car makers. Shutdowns that have already been announced by BMW, Toyota and Honda will hit those firms that supply parts.

Fewer cars assembled means fewer parts needed and "just in time" manufacturing means that stocks of finished parts are not kept and so it will be very difficult for components firms not to cut back their production too.

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