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Civic chiefs in urgent talks over region's "blackest day" for jobs
8:55am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
IT was the blackest day.
But as each told of their utter “shock and devastation” they were united in what must be their top priority now – the workers.
Southampton City Council has revealed plans are already underway with the creation of a special taskforce to help those affected find new work.
Urgent meetings have been called to discuss the business impact on the Solent region, pleas are being made to the Government for help with the local economy and pledges are already being made to protect the giant site itself in the future.
Richard Williams, leader of Southampton City Council, said: “This is the news we feared and it’s a very bad day for the city. It certainly doesn’t feel as if we are coming out of recession here in Southampton.
“We will be calling on local MPs to raise the closure in Parliament – this is a globalisation issue and the continued exportation of jobs to cheap labour overseas is not sustainable in the long-term.”
His views were echoed by Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, who said it was a “desperately, desperately sad day for the whole region”.
He called on Ford to meet their obligations to help find workers new employment, adding: “The faltering European economy has hit Transit sales hard, but that’s not the fault of Southampton employees.”
Maureen Turner, Lib Dem councillor for Swaythling, said: “I feel devastated. I can only just start to imagine what it must be like for the 500 workers who are being made redundant.
I understand there is nothing we can do in terms of stopping the closure, but I think it is vital we think about what can be done to find jobs for those workers who have given many years to this firm and who have skills that can be used in other areas in the city.”
Sprios Vassiliou, Tory ward councillor, added: “After the last round of redundancies we were told that Ford was then where it wanted to be with the number of staff it had. We were told they were here to stay – that is why it has come as such a shock to us all.
“Ford is embedded into British culture. It is the consumers who have helped get Ford to where it is today. My prime concerns are for the people who work there and we will be doing everything we can to ensure the council administration do what they can to support those who will lose their jobs.”