Ford’s Australian unit announced plans on Tuesday to cut up to 440 jobs, or about 15 percent of its workforce, and slash daily production from 209 to 148 vehicles in response to an industry-wide slump in the sale of large vehicles.

The cuts are to be shared equally between the company’s Broadmeadows and Geelong manufacturing plants.

A union official said Ford shut its Geelong production line for 15 minutes this morning as staff were briefed. He said more than 200 jobs would go in Geelong, which would hit the community hard.

Ford Australia president and chief executive Bob Graziano says the cuts are needed to provide more stability and certainty for the business.

“We understand that, unfortunately, the impact on our employees will be significant, but implementing this structural change is essential to ensure the longer-term health of the business, which is important for our employees, our suppliers and the communities in which we operate,” he said in a statement.

Ford, which has more than 3,000 employees in Australia received a $103 million package from the Victorian and federal governments and its US parent company in January this year for a production upgrade, securing the manufacture of the flagship Falcon and the Territory SUV at Geelong and Broadmeadows until at least the end of 2016.


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