'No compulsory job losses' in Southampton and Dagenham, says Ford

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Media captionForty years of Ford Transit production in Southampton is due to end later this month

There will be no compulsory redundancies when the Ford plants in Southampton and Dagenham close, the company has announced.

The Transit van factory in Southampton which employs 531 people is due to close on 26 July.

Most will leave voluntarily, including taking early retirement, or work at new facilities being set up in the city.

A further 750 have been affected by the closure of the tool and stamping operation in Dagenham.

It is estimated that more than two million Transits have been made in Southampton in the past 40 years, but production is switching to Turkey.

Ford insists costs in Turkey are "significantly lower" than anywhere in Europe, even after delivery charges.

The company said the plant in Kocaeli produced 185,000 vans last year, compared with 28,000 in Southampton.

Unions had called the closures a "betrayal" when they were announced last year.

A Ford spokesman said that all of the 531 employees at Southampton had "either chosen redeployment within Ford, voluntary separation or early retirement" with "new and expanded Ford operations created in Southampton providing positions for 134 of these employees".

He added more than 40 people had found employment outside the company.

A £12m vehicle distribution centre is being created at Southampton docks along with a vehicle refurbishment plant being set up at the existing site.

The 750 employees affected by the Dagenham closure have also either accepted redundancy, early retirement or been redeployed within the company.

Ford's spokesman continued: "Ford is investing £1.9m at Dagenham to establish a new powertrain tool room within the engine plant.

"Together with other positions in the local area, this has enabled a total of 400 employees to be redeployed within the company and a number of others are pursuing opportunities outside Ford."

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