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Ford to cut 30,000 jobs in North America

Ford to cut 30,000 jobs in North America

By Joe Kay- World Socialist Web Site
24 January 2006

Ford Motor Company announced plans on Monday to eliminate between 25,000 and 30,000 jobs by 2012. This amounts to more than 20 percent of the company’s North American workforce, and nearly 30 percent of its manufacturing jobs, where the bulk of the reductions will take place. The Ford plan is only the latest stage in a major assault by US automakers on the jobs, wages and benefits of their workers, an assault that is having devastating consequences throughout the US, Canada and other countries.

The plan, dubbed the “Way Forward,” was outlined in a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Citing increased competition and a “crowded and fragmented” global auto market, CEO and Chairman Bill Ford announced that the company “will be making painful sacrifices to protect Ford’s heritage and secure our future.” He pledged that in the future Ford, “will be able to deliver more innovative products, better returns for our shareholders and stability in the communities where we operate.”

Return for shareholders and a shift toward profitability in its North American division are the basic aims of the restructuring. Ford has been under pressure from Wall Street to make major cuts in costs over the past year, and has seen its bond rating reduced to junk status. The job cuts were widely expected, particularly after Ford’s larger US rival, General Motors, announced plans to cut tens of thousands of jobs late last year. The cuts Ford announced Monday went much further than an outline of the plan that it leaked to the press in December and reflected the company’s determination not to undershoot Wall Street demands.

Ford’s stock price was up $0.42 on Monday, or more than 5 percent—a consequence of larger-than-expected profit figures for the fourth quarter, as well as a generally favorable reaction on Wall Street to the new job-cutting plan. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, told Dow Jones’s MarketWatch news service that the restructuring was an “excellent start” for Ford.

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