According to the works council, this was announced at a works meeting on Monday. According to this, up to 2,500 of 3,800 jobs could be cut at the Merkenich research center – more than half of all jobs in vehicle development.
According to the works council, around 20 percent of the employees in administration have to leave. There should also be layoffs at the research center in Aachen. The background is that Ford no longer wants to have car models with electric motors developed in Europe, but in the USA.
Employees are informed about the company’s plans at works meetings. Some of them arrived in buses. The crowd was so great that many had to be sent away. The company has therefore announced a third meeting for the afternoon.
The mood in the halls fluctuated between dismay and outspoken anger, reports employees who attended the meeting. Mainly because the company itself has said nothing about the plans. The works council had to deliver the bad news. That was a scandal, commented the works council chairman Benjamin Gruschka.
Ford Does Not Confirm The Job Cuts
Ford has not confirmed the job cuts. In a written statement, the group announced that it did not want to comment on “the current speculation about a possible restructuring at Ford in Europe”.
However, the complete conversion to electric vehicles will bring “significant changes” with it and will also have an impact on the future organizational structure. “We will announce further details as soon as our plans are final and we have informed our workforce,” it said.
According to The Works Council, The Development Center Was Most Affected
So far, 3,800 employees work in the development center. They have developed the models of small and medium-sized cars, which are now gradually being phased out. New, exclusively electrically powered models are to be developed in the USA. According to the works council, the development center would be virtually unemployed. Part of the austerity measures lies within the Ford group. Jobs are also to be cut in administration, in the spare parts center and in the research center in Aachen.
Employees have recently been confronted with cost-cutting measures several times. Most recently in 2020, when 5,400 jobs were lost in Germany. The measures also included the decision to end vehicle production in Saarlouis. But that wasn’t the end of Ford’s savings, as is now becoming apparent.
Conversion For Electric Car Production
The production lines in the Cologne plant are currently being converted for the assembly of the first electric model. The car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line this year, and a second electric model will follow next year. The company wants to make more money with the new models than with the previous small and medium-sized models with combustion engines. The long-running Fiesta built in Cologne will therefore no longer be produced from mid-2023. The complete car assembly in Saarlouis, Saarland, is also discontinued.
Structures throughout Europe under scrutiny
The entire Ford group in Europe has been turned inside out for years. And time and time again, massive jobs are being cut. With 5,400 jobs lost in 2020, the end of the savings seemed to have been reached. An obviously false hope.
Automotive Expert Sees Strategic Mistakes at Ford
Automotive expert Stefan Bratzel sees major strategic mistakes in the company’s alignment. Instead of investing in the development of electric mobility, Ford has slipped more and more into cheaper vehicle segments. The problem: relatively low margins with high labor costs for production in Germany. “If the quantities eventually become too low, you can no longer reasonably refinance the fixed costs for the development of a large number of models,” says Bratzel.
Meanwhile, others have filled the gap in the market, such as competitor Volkswagen. Ford had previously used its e-mobility platform for its plug-in hybrids in Europe. Ford now wants to correct the fact that the e-mobility trend was recognized too late. “Basically, this is good news for Ford and also for the employees, but one thing is clear: you need far fewer people if you do the development somewhere else and not in Cologne,” says Stefan Bratzel.
This article is originally published on wdr.de