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Jaguar engine production line at Ford in Bridgend begins shutdown

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Hundreds of workers at Ford’s Bridgend plant who make engines for Jaguar cars are being paid to stay at home for a week.

The five-day shutdown is happening because the company is stopping production at its assembly plants at Solihull for a fortnight.

The affected staff, on the AJ line, will get basic pay during the break.

Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones said he wanted assurances the move was only temporary.

News of the shutdown has caused fresh anxiety for those at the plant – which is one of the biggest employers in Wales.

Last week, Ford’s European boss Steven Armstrong warned a no-deal Brexit could affect the company’s future in the UK.

And in 2017, it was announced production of engines for Jaguar Land Rover would end three months earlier than expected.

It’s unusual for unions in a plant like Ford Bridgend not to have been told of the production line shut down in advance.

In this instance, I understand letters were sent to staff before the unions had been told.

And this all comes during a time of tension across the car industry.

Sales are down, particularly of diesel vehicles and car makers are increasingly anxious about the impact and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Jaguar Land Rover recently said that if the UK government did not get “the right Brexit” it would cost them more than £1bn a year – and lead to big job losses.

Ford Bridgend is one of several Welsh suppliers to Jaguar Land Rover.

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