Spanish plant in Valencia chosen as flagship site for EV production
Automaker Ford said in a statement that it has chosen its Valencia plant as the preferred site to assemble vehicles based on next-generation EV architecture.
The other site vying for the project was Ford’s plant in Saarlouis, Germany, which will continue to produce the Focus.
Restructuring on a “significant” scale
Valencia and Saarlouis employees have been told that a short-term restructuring will be necessary and that the scale would be “significant”, a Ford spokesman said, without providing further details.
Ford had previously warned that the shift to EV production would likely lead to a reduction in its workforce, as assembling electric cars requires fewer man-hours. The workforce of the Ford plant in Valence is about 6,000 people, while that of Saarlouis employs about 4,600 people.
The Spanish union welcomes “great news” for employment
Spain’s UGT union called the choice of Valencia as the preferred site for EV production “big news” because it guaranteed production for more than a decade, when the factory had been faced with a reduction in the production of previous models.
CGU said it expects EV production to begin in 2025.
But the union said in a statement, however, that the rise of EVs will involve talking to Ford how the workforce will be resized.
Ford doubles down on electric
In March, Ford announced plans for seven new electric models in Europe, a battery assembly site in Germany and a nickel cell manufacturing joint venture in Turkey.
Adding that it would start producing a new electric passenger vehicle at Germany’s Cologne plant in 2023, while an EV version of its Puma model would be produced in Romania from 2024.
Our opinion, by leblogauto.com
Volkswagen also announced earlier this year that it would begin EV production in Spain in 2025 and open a battery production plant in Valencia.
Still, last April, the Spanish Social Democratic Union, the General Union of Workers (UGT) and Ford-Spain signed the 18th collective agreement at the Almussafes factory in Valencia. Concluded between the unions and the management of Ford, it cuts wages and divides Ford’s European employees according to national criteria. In order to take advantage of the transition to the manufacture of electric vehicles.
Ford Europe has demanded factories in Almussafes, Spain, and Saarlouis, Germany, submit proposals that seek to reduce wages and working conditions as much as possible. These proposals were presented at Ford headquarters in Detroit last May. The “losing” factory risks closing after 2025, threatening tens of thousands of jobs in Spain or Germany.
The collective agreement was signed by the director of the Almussafes factory, Dionisio Campos, and on the UGT side, by the president of the works council, Carlos Faubel, and the secretary, José Luis Parra. The unions only provided the broad outlines of the draft collective agreement to the employees. The collective agreement includes the so-called electrification agreement concluded between the UGT and Ford Europe on January 27 in Cologne. The resulting agreement promises deep cuts in exchange for guaranteeing the production of new electric vehicles.
A wage freeze is also planned for the next four years, which means deep cuts in the real value of wages as inflation soars. With the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures in Spain then showing inflation at 9.8%, this would mean a loss of 20% or more in the purchasing power of employees by the end of 2026 .
Also included among the concessions: the extension of daily working time by 15 minutes and the elimination of 4 days of vacation. Employees would work 11 days more per year. Other integrated elements: work on Saturdays up to 18 days a year. Eight of these Saturdays will not benefit from any additional weekend bonus. Also note the introduction of flexible night shifts.
Sources at Ford then confirmed that the pay cut would be around 4,000 euros for this year alone.
Last February, the UGT put this agreement to a vote. Which was taken to court after the minority Metalworkers’ Union (STM) challenged the minutes of the works council made up of unions and management that approved the deal on February 14. The STM says the vote was carried out “with a lack of transparency”.
Some fear that the German and Spanish trade unions represented in the European Works Council are pitting German and Spanish employees against each other. Unless it’s already been done..
Ford announced on Wednesday that it will begin production of electric vehicles (EVs) in Spain later this decade. Adding that this would involve “significant” job cuts at its Spanish factory in the city of Valencia and at the Saarlouis site in Germany. Measures taken as part of its ambitious electrification campaign in Europe.