Ford to make final call on Europe job cuts by mid-February

BERLIN — Ford will decide by mid-February on how many jobs will be cut in Europe, a spokesperson for German labor union IG Metall said.

Union representatives will meet with Ford‘s management on Saturday for the next stage of talks, said the spokesperson for IG Metall, which has threatened disruption if the U.S. automaker axed roles in Germany and across the region as feared.

Management figures presented a worst-case scenario to 12,000 workers in a packed assembly hall at Ford’s Cologne site on Monday of up to 2,500 job cuts in product development and a further 700 in administration.

A second scenario was also on the table, the spokesperson said, declining to provide details.

Ford has declined to comment, referring to a Jan. 20 statement in which it said that the shift to electric-vehicle production requires structural changes and it would not say more until plans are finalized.

The automaker has committed to an all-electric lineup in Europe by 2030 and its U.S. leadership has repeatedly flagged that EVs require less labor.

Its European staff last saw a wave of job cuts in 2019 and 2020 as the company pursued a 6 percent operating margin in the region, a goal thrown off course by the coronavirus pandemic, with pretax profit margins in Europe in the first nine months of 2022 at just 2.2 percent of sales.

The workers council in Cologne has demanded that management commit to no layoffs before Dec. 31 of 2032, and that the roughly 2,500 product development staff there remain part of the automaker’s global development landscape.

With production of the Ford Fiesta to end in Cologne this summer and the Ford Focus at its Saarlouis site in 2025, the council also demanded clear plans for how Ford would “secure and expand a relevant share of the European passenger car market.”

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