Ford closes Swaythling plant in Britain after 40 years

July 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

SOUTHAMPTON, England, July 26 (UPI) -- A Ford plant in Britain that produced more than 2 million Transit vans was closed Friday because of a cheaper production option in Turkey, the company said.

Ford has operated the plant in Swaythling, England, for more than 40 years, the BBC reported.

Production costs in Turkey are "significantly lower," Ford said, explaining the plant closure that will eliminate more than 500 British jobs.

"It's quite an eerie feeling. It's all very quiet. It's like a ghost town in there now," said Mark Radcliffe, adding he was "Southampton born and bred" and has worked at the Ford plant for nine years.

Radcliffe said he will begin working at a Ford engine plant in Bridgend, Wales, but others are out of work and feel betrayed, the BBC said.

"I'm out of a job. They say it's voluntary redundancy but I don't see it being voluntary," Alan Merritt said.

He said the Swaythling plant had been "earmarked for closure" for 15 years.

"It's quite sad really, people have been coming here day in, day out for 25 years, some of them 30 years," said Rick Ranson, who worked at Southampton Transit for 25 years and said he would also transfer to the engine factory in Wales.

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