Ford Belgium plant production remains halted amid protests

Ford Motor Co.’s production at its factory in Genk, Belgium, remained halted as protests over plans to shut the plant next year showed no sign of letup after three months of disruption.

According to Bloomberg, 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 Ford of Europe spokesman Adrian Schmitz.

“We have an agreement with unions and are determined to implement that agreement to restart work at Genk,” Schmitz said.

With the factory closed, Ford is seeking to meet vehicle demand from existing stocks, he said.

Worker walkouts compounded the effects of scheduled suspensions in carmaking because of a shrinking European market, Schmitz said.

Ford hasn’t shipped a vehicle from Genk since 24 October and the plant will shut for good in 2014, Mark Truby, another Ford of Europe spokesman, said.

The permanent shutdown of the Genk plant is part of an effort to end losses in Europe that may exceed £1 billion a year in 2012 and 2013.

Ford’s announced plans to shut a plant in Southampton, and another in Dagenham, plus this plant will lead to the loss of 6,200 jobs, or 13 percent of Ford’s workforce in Europe.

The agreement with Genk labor leaders was slated to allow Ford restart production on 9 January, and ramp up output to 1,000 vehicles a day at the factory, which builds the Mondeo mid-sized sedan and the S-Max and Galaxy minivans, according to unions.