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Plant retooling: 2,000 Ford workers face temporary layoff

Ford Motor Company (F) was involved in some of the mass layoffs the corporate world has witnessed in the last decade, and it’s a matter of concern for the workforce that the company is at it very often. However, to the relief of the 2,000-odd hourly employees being targeted at the Michigan plant, Ford is going for a temporary layoff this time.

Job cuts have been the main component of the recent restructuring spree the U.S. automobile industry has witnessed, with General Motors (GM) being the front-runner.

The assembly and stamping unit in Ford’s Wayne facility is being subjected to retooling for making Ranger pickup trucks and Bronco SUVs. The move is termed as part of the company’s initiatives to ‘get back to its roots.’ While production of the Ranger trucks is expected to start this year, Bronco will go into production two years later.

Image Courtesy: Ford

The restructuring was necessitated by the falling demand for Ford’s compact car Focus and C-Max hybrid. Interestingly, Ford has revealed plans to manufacture the next-generation Focus in China and export it to the U.S.

The employee strength will be trimmed gradually from May through October this year. As per the terms, workers who have one-year seniority will be paid about 75% of their net salary, and there is a provision for the affected workers to re-join either the Michigan plant or any other facility.

The downsizing, the first so far this year, comes at the heels of a series of layoffs in 2017, which together with other factors prompted rating agency Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade the rating outlook on Ford to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ earlier this year.

In connections with the retooling of its Wayne facility and spending for the development of driverless electric cars, Ford expects to register lower profit this year. Last Friday, the shares of the automaker tanked to a new 52-week low ($10.14) and closed at $10.40.

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