Oct.24 - Ford is to close its assembly plant in Belgium with the loss of more than 4500 jobs as it tries to stem losses in Europe as demand tumbles. Ciara Sutton reports.
U.S. car giant Ford is to close a factory in Belgium next year with the loss of nearly four and half thousand jobs. It's trying to stem losses, and match the number of cars it makes to falling demand in Europe. Hundreds of workers gathered outside the plant gates in the city of Genk as union representatives delivered the news. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) WORKER ELBASHIR ZIDAN SAYING: "I hope the people who are responsible for all this will sleep well tonight. So many families are now set to be out on the street. How will their children be able to go to school? So, dear ministers of Europe, sleep well tonight. We will not be able to sleep tonight." Production of Ford's Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models will be transferred to a Spanish plant. As consumers grapple with high unemployment and government austerity measures, they've stopped buying cars as frequently. In September, European new car registrations shrank at the fastest pace in the past 12 months. But French rival Peugeot Citroen has been handed a lifeline by the French state. The government of prime minister François Hollande is coming to the rescue with a 11.5 billion euro refinancing deal. That's sent the French carmarker's stocks to historic lows. It also risks a backlash from some European governments who believe such state intervention should be cleared with the European Union.