Business, Economics and Jobs

Ford plans closure of Belgian plant to curtail European losses


Ford employees stand outside the factory after the announcement of the loss of over 4,000 jobs due to the closure of the plant on October 24, 2012 in Genk, Belgium.


Mark Renders

Ford announced its plans to close its Belgian plan in Gent by 2014, cutting 4,500 jobs in an attempt to curtail its European losses. 

Ford is the largest employer in the northeast Flemish region, and staff were deeply upset to hear of the closure. 

"We feel betrayed, we had a work contract till 2020, and now everything's over," said Belgian Ford employee Jean-Francois Muto, Agence France Presse reported

"This is taking us by surprise and is an extremely bitter pill," union representative Johan Lamers told The Associated Press.

The company is shifting the production of its Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models from Gent to Valencia, Spain, according to union representative Luc Prener, Reuters reported

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Ford's European operations could lose as much as $1.2 billion this year, and the company is currently reviewing "all areas of the business to address the near-term challenges while ensuring we are building a strong business for the future," BBC News reported

There is also talk that the US auto manufacturer will shutter its factory in Southampton, its last plant in the UK, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Southampton facility employs around 500 staff members. 

"The outlook for the industry is not very positive for the foreseeable future," said Ford Europe Chairman Stephen Odell, Reuters reported

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