Ford unions agree cuts with the firm to save the Almussafes factory from closing


VALENCIA

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The works council of Ford Almussafes and the European management of the company have reached an agreement to present a proposal with which the Valencian plant aspires to obtain the awards for build electric models of the firm, which would ensure the workload in the coming years.

This has been advanced by the UGT, the majority union in Ford Almussafes, moved to the German city of Cologne – the company’s headquarters in Europe-, where the “intense meetings against the clock” were held to close an agreement whose term ended last Thursday, January 27.

The European direction of Ford will move the deal to Detroit (U.S), headquarters of the multinational, to make a decision on which plant will produce the new electric models; for which the Valencian factory and the factory of Saarlouis (Germany).

The agreement, announced by the union organization in a Twitter message under the slogan #Almussafesgoeselectric, puts the finishing touch to the multiple meetings that have taken place between unions and the factory management, which in previous negotiations insisted that workers will ensure factory competitiveness with a ten percent drop in wages, a reduction in vacation time by one week, and an extension of shifts by thirty minutes. Some measures that both UGT and the rest of the unions were “far from assuming.”

Last Tuesday, UGT representatives announced their intention to meet with Ford’s European management in Cologne to present a different proposal, which included an agreement for four or five years, in which they were willing to “wage restraint”, as long as the path of the CPI was recovered later.

Likewise, it also contemplated other measures conditioned to the award of future electric vehicles, which would not come into force until 2025, as well as advancing in the flexibility of working hours and the platform for ‘flexible remuneration’. In this regard, the majority union has indicated that it will report the details of the agreement soon.

Institutional support

The proposal agreed between unions and Ford’s European management has the support of public institutions, both from the Generalitat and the Ministry of Industry. The President of the Regional Executive, Ximo Puig, highlighted in his last speech that the Consell «has made and will make all the necessary efforts so that Ford stays in Almussafes». The socialist president also valued the proposal of the Valencian plant as a “solvent solution to maintain the jobs of this tractor company in the Valencian Community”.

After knowing the news, the Automotive Cluster of the Valencian Community (AVIA) has valued “optimistically” the agreement “in which the auxiliary industry has no capacity to interfere”, but which “allows the leading company in the sector in the Community to stay in the running within the restructuring plan of the multinational”.

Its president, Mónica Alegre, has expressed her expectation for the agreement and has considered it “a exercise of responsibility and generosity on all sides. «The future of the sector will depend on the decision that is made in the coming months at the headquarters of the multinational. This agreement is, at least, an advantage on the starting grid,” he stressed.

It should be remembered that the automobile sector in the Valencian Community generates more than 25,000 jobs and makes up about fifteen percent of regional industrial GDP. Significant data that led Ximo Puig to request that decision-making be carried out “using economic parameters”, since Ford Almussafes “is the most competitive plant that the brand has in Europe”.

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