The US carmaker Ford is reported to be planning significant cutbacks to its white-collar workforce in the UK, with an announcement expected within weeks.
A source told City AM the car giant would offer up to 550 office staff voluntary redundancies at its Essex office.
A Ford spokesman confirmed the offer of redundancies, but told Yahoo Finance UK the number of affected staff in Britain was “still to be determined. ” He did not confirm which staff would be affected.
City AM suggests the shakeup is not expected to affect thousands of Ford employees at its manufacturing plants.
The spokesman said the redundancies were linked to a major turnaround project first announced in January, with the aim of returning Ford to “sustainable profitability” in Europe.
In January it said “thousands” of jobs were likely to be slashed, and plans were revealed to combine its Ford UK and Ford Credit headquarters at its base in Dunton, Essex.
It said in a statement at the time that it would seek to avoid compulsory redundancies “as far as possible” in its bid to reduce headcount. Large cutbacks have since been confirmed in Germany.
Reuters reported at the time that Ford had 53,000 employees and had struggled to turn a profit.
Brexit is not reported to be a major factor in the decision, but significant uncertainty and possible higher tariffs or loss of access remain a significant challenge for the UK car industry.
A Ford spokesman said a statement today: “What we’ve said is that as part of a comprehensive European business transformation announced in January, we are reorganising our workforce in the European region.
“The goal is to significantly decrease structural costs, reduce bureaucracy, empower leaders and managers, and eliminate less value-added work.
“Within this context, we have offered voluntary separation programmes for employees in Germany and the UK to help accelerate the plan and return to sustainable profitability.
“Through these programs and other initiatives, Ford of Germany expects to reduce in excess of 5,000 jobs, including temporary staff. The total number of positions impacted in the UK is still to be determined.”