Ford Aquitaine Industries (FAI) has announced to its works council that it has decided to refuse the proposal to take over its plant at Blanquefort (Gironde) made by the Belgian company Punch Powerglide: the plant will close in 2019 and the current 850 employees will loose their job.
'Despite the rigorous and in-depth discussions over the past nine months, and the best efforts made by each of the parties, the plan proposed by the potential buyer presents significant risks. We do not believe that the potential buyer's plans offer the level of safety and protection, or limit the risk of possible future job losses, that we want for FAI employees', the US automaker said in a statement. Production on the site is scheduled to stop at the end of August 2019 and FAI has undertaken not to make any forced departures before September 2019. Personally involved in trying to save the gearbox manufacturing site, the Minister of Economy, accused the American manufacturer of not being available for talks and that the buyer's offer seemed valid.
Update 05/03/2019: The Labour Inspectorate (Direction régionale des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi - Direccte) has accepted the Plan de sauvegarde à l'emploi (PSE) presented by Ford for the Blanquefort plant. This employment protection plan amounts to € 165 million, or € 190,000 per employee. Between 300 and 400 employees, according to trade union sources, could be eligible for early retirement in a factory where the average age remains 51 years. A few dozen others could be reclassified in the neighbouring GTF plant, co-owned by Ford and the Canadian Magna. The rest, around 400 to 500 employees, should be dismissed with, according to the unions, 2 to 3 years covered between support for reclassification and unemployment.