Ford workers ‘let down’ by Dagenham plant closure

10:24 31 October 2012

Beginnings: The first Ford to be produced at Dagenham, the AA, rolls off the production line in 1931

Beginnings: The first Ford to be produced at Dagenham, the AA, rolls off the production line in 1931

Archant

Devastated Ford workers reacted with anger after the car giant last week announced the closure of its 750-staff stamping and tooling plants in the biggest blow to the Dagenham factory for a decade.

Ford bosses confirmed the sites in Chequers Lane would shut in July to offset predicted losses of almost £1billion across Europe.

Worker Eric Barzey, 47, said: “It is a kick in the teeth.

“Everyone is in deep shock. People feel let down. Even though we knew it was coming, we also hoped it would get better.

“I’ve worked for the company for 25 years. I came here as a boy, I am leaving as a man, but you can’t really cry about it.”

Workers said it was a “sad day” for the factory, which makes diesel engines as well as vehicle panels in its stamping plant.

Management pledged to maintain production in the engine plant, which will start to make new low-carbon emission engines from 2016, but it is unlikely a large number of jobs will be created in the coming years.

A decade ago 1,000 jobs were axed after the plug was pulled on car production.

Bosses insisted the latest round of redundancies would be voluntary, with some opportunities to move from the stamping plant to the engine plant.

But Mark Spagnol, 49, of Western Avenue, Dagenham, said: “I’m gutted. I will have been here 27-and-a-half years when it closes in July. I haven’t got a mortgage and the kids are grown up. It’s the younger workers I’m worried about.”

Bhajan Singh, 50, said: “It’s terrible. I feel sorry for the next generation at Dagenham.”

Edmond Preshaw, 51, of Northfield Road, Dagenham, added: “We’re devastated. There has been no forward planning. It was coming from a long way but no one expected it to come so suddenly.”

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