Workers dread that the Ford-Sollers Vsevolozhsk plant in the Leningrad region of Russia, will close, at a cost of more than 1,000 jobs. Their trade unions have launched a campaign against the closure of the plant and called for support from global allies.
The works council at Ford Vsevolozhsk, comprised of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Interregional Trade Union “Workers Association” (ITUWA) and the local Ford trade union organization, issued a joint statement on 15 February.
The Ford-Sollers joint venture in Vsevolozhsk open since 2001, produces Focus and Mondeo models. Now, the plant employs 1,020 people on one shift. Approximately 600 are production staff and 400 are office and management staff. During the past four years, the plant has operated part time. (Ford to Restructure European Business Once Again and General Motors to Sell Opel/Vauxhall and Leave Europe?)
Although the closure of the Vsevolozhsk plant has not been confirmed, Ford announced in January 2019 that it would review its development strategy in Russia. Depending on the review, the plant in Vsevolozhsk and two plants to produce cars and engines in the Republic of Tatarstan may be closed. Leningrad region authorities have an agreement with the company’s management to continue the plant’s operation in 2019, but this does not secure the future of Ford plants in Russia beyond this date.
The unions propose using the expertise of the workers to develop a plan that will help safeguard jobs, make the plant viable and help Ford return to the successful times of the past.
“In our opinion, local management does not assess all the risks associated with the liquidation of the enterprise and the mass dismissal of employees,” says Igor Temchenko, chair of ITUWA in the Leningrad region and Saint-Petersburg. “The trade unions have proposals for reducing production costs, as well as for the development of the company. As a result, these measures will save the plant in Vsevolozhsk.”