UNION bosses who have accused Ford of betraying its workforce and its British customers will hold a mass meeting in Southampton on Monday for the 500 strong workforce.

Unite officers will meet with workers who have been dealt the devastating blow that Ford’s vehicle production in the UK will end after more than a century.

Union bosses have vowed to fight the closures.

Fred Hanna, regional officer, was among those at the meeting yesterday morning with Ford bosses.

He has branded the company’s handling of the announcement as “disgraceful”.

Mr Hanna said even though speculation over the closure was leaked to the media on Wednesday, workers in Swaythling found the news hard to believe.

He said: “You are talking about a long serving, dedicated and reliable workforce in Southampton who have already been dealt several blows over redundancies and their shifts being cut back. I was outraged by the way Ford has done this. Nobody knew what was going on.

“There have been some people in Southampton who have literally been in tears there today.

“There are some families who work for the plant at Southampton. You have cases where the wife, husband and their children all work for Ford.

“They are going to go from earning a substantial wage to potentially nothing. It is a devastating day but we will fight this.”

Today a series of meetings will take place to get reaction from the workforce before the mass meeting on Monday morning.

Last night Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, said: “Ford has betrayed its workforce and its loyal customer base.

“Unite is going to fight these closures. This announcement has been handled disgracefully.

“Only a few months ago Ford was promising staff a new Ttransit model for Southampton in 2014.

“The planned closures will really hurt the local economies and the supply chain will be badly hit – up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk.”

He added: “The Transit has been the best-selling van in the UK for over a quarter of a century. It has a future in the UK if this Government is prepared to fight for real jobs and persuade Ford to keep manufacturing vehicles in the UK.

“It’s now time for Vincent Cable to put his words into action and intervene for the sake of British manufacturing and skilled jobs.”