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Union calls for engine contract to remain at Ford Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 12:32 17 September 2012

A union is calling for one of the borough’s biggest engineering employers to reassure its members that a lucrative contract will be awarded to their site.

Unite fears that up to 1,000 highly skilled workers at Dagenham’s Ford plant could lose their jobs if the manufacturing giant does not award them its new engine-building deal.

The plant currently makes 300,000 Puma engines for transit vehicles but the model will soon cease production. The union is pressing for its replacement, the more eco-friendly Panther engine, to be awarded to the Dagenham site.

Unite’s deputy regional secretary for the London and Eastern region, Vince Passfield, said: “The hard working workforce at Dagenham has contributed to Ford’s success over the years and the Panther engine should go there, and not be made in Eastern Europe.”

Earlier this month, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, visited the plant to talk to employees about the situation.

After the visit, on September 6, he said: “Now more than ever we need to be promoting local industry as a way of tackling unemployment, and that is why I am currently liaising with people at the highest level within Ford and the government, working with Unite to ensure that the new Panther engine comes to Dagenham.”

About one million engines a year, of which 300,000 are Pumas, are produced at the plant. It employs about 2,800 workers in total.

Ford Dagenham said it is working “very closely” with Unite.

The Puma engine has to cease production because it will not meet EU guidelines on CO2 emission levels, among other reasons, it said.

A spokesman added: “There has to be a successor to that engine and we haven’t announced yet where that will be made. It’s too speculative at the moment.

“In terms of Ford Dagenham, it’s vital to Ford’s operation.”


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