Ford has announced that 1,300 jobs, a fifth of the workforce, is being cut from its UK business as part of a Europe-wide overhaul.
The majority of the UK losses will be at the Ford site in Dunton, Essex – its UK headquarters and technical centre.
Up to 1,000 jobs are to be axed at the location with the remaining 300 to come from administrative roles spread across the remaining five sites.
Production staff at Dagenham, Halewood and Daventry are to be unaffected. Ford has two other sites in the UK: in Stratford, east London – where software is worked on – and Southampton, where Ford transport operations are situated.
The cuts are being made as part of a plan to cull 3,800 jobs across Europe over the next three years.
It comes as the carmaker focuses its attention on electric vehicles, after announcing last year that it will no longer make the fiesta, the UK’s best-selling car.
Ford was explicit in saying the business restructuring is happening due to the transition to fully electric and the reduced vehicle complexity. It aims to have an electric-only fleet in Europe by 2035.
The job losses come as Ford prepares “to compete and win in a highly competitive region that is facing significant economic and geo-political headwinds”, said the general manager of Ford model e in Europe, Martin Sander.
Cuts are to be made across various sections of the business: 2,800 engineering roles are to go by 2025 and 1,000 job cuts will be made in the administrative, marketing, sales and distribution departments across Europe.
The company said it will engage with unions and workers’ groups across the continent to reduce headcount via voluntary redundancies.
In the UK, the Unite union said the company must “open the books” to help save as many roles as possible.
Roughly 3,400 engineering jobs will remain, focused on vehicle design, development and technology.
Mr Sander pledged his support to workers and building a future for the business in Europe.
“These are difficult decisions, not taken lightly. We recognise the uncertainty it creates for our team, and I assure them we will be offering them our full support in the months ahead,” he said.
“We will engage in consultations with our social partners so we can move forward together on building a thriving future for our business in Europe.”
The Ford brand is being completely reinvented in Europe, he said. A portfolio of smaller, more focused, and increasingly electric vehicles are being produced.
Production of Ford’s first European-built electric car is to start later this year.
This article was originlly published by Sky News.