By Chris Reiter & Keith Naughton
Jan 18, 2013
Ford Motor Co. (F)ís production at its factory in Genk, Belgium, remained halted as protests over plans to shut the site next year showed no sign of letup after three months of disruption.
An agreement between Ford and unions approved by workers a week ago failed to result in a resumption of auto assembly after protesters blocked an adjacent supplier area, cutting off the flow of parts, said Adrian Schmitz, a spokesman for the carmakerís European operations in Cologne, Germany.
ďWe have an agreement with unions and are determined to implement that agreement to restart work at Genk,Ē Schmitz said by phone. With the factory closed, Ford is seeking to meet vehicle demand from existing stocks, he said.
Ford hasnít shipped a vehicle from Genk since saying Oct. 24 that the plant will shut for good in 2014, Mark Truby, another Ford of Europe spokesman, said by phone. Worker walkouts compounded the effects of scheduled suspensions in carmaking because of a shrinking European market, Schmitz said. The permanent shutdown is part of an effort to end losses in Europe that may exceed $1.5 billion a year in 2012 and 2013.
The carmaker also plans to shut a van plant in Southampton, England, this year along with a stamping facility in Dagenham, on the outskirts of London. The measures will lead to the loss of 6,200 jobs, or 13 percent of Dearborn, Michigan-based Fordís workforce in Europe.