TORONTO (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it could slash more than 400 jobs at the Windsor, Ontario, plant where it makes engines for pickup trucks and SUVs, as part of the company’s shift to focus on more fuel efficient vehicles.
“We have sent layoff notices to approximately 430 employees,” said Mark Truby, a Ford spokesman in Detroit.
“That doesn’t mean they will all necessarily be laid off... the exact number that we end up with will be clearer as we work through some of the final production volumes.”
Truby said there are currently no other plans to lay off workers at Ford’s other Canadian plants.
Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union said he expects around 300 union members to be laid off at the Windsor plant.
“We’ll lose a shift in our V8 engine plant in Windsor and, other than that, I don’t see it having an impact anywhere else,” he said.
The Windsor plant assembles V8 and V10 engines. Ford said on Thursday it would cut back on the production of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks as consumers shift to more fuel efficient vehicles amid soaring pump prices.
Hargrove said the union would look into buyout packages, but with all the recent layoffs at Ford, which has struggled amid weak U.S. sales and high fuel prices, laid-off workers would likely be left with little protection.
“We’ve pretty well exhausted the buyout pool, or the retirement incentive pool ... so we’re now down to the point, with the exception of Oakville, that anything that hits us means people are laid directly onto the street,” he said.
Ford’s Truby also said he was unsure if buyouts would be offered.
Hargrove confirmed that a new, still-unnamed vehicle is slated to be produced in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario, plant, probably some time next year.
Plans for the vehicle were said to be included in the three-year contract agreement between the union and the automaker that was ratified on May 4, but it was never officially announced.
The CAW said it would not look to revisit the contract terms.
Editing by Rob Wilson