Negotiations between the US car manufacturer Ford and a major investor to take over the factory in Saarlouis have failed. The workforce was informed about this at a meeting.

As Ford Germany boss Martin Sander told the dpa, the investor announced last week that he did not want to continue the talks. Negotiations on the social plan are now underway. If there is no agreement, the works council has already announced warning strikes and a strike vote on an indefinite industrial action.

Production of the Ford Focus will end at the site in mid-2025. 4,400 employees currently work there, plus another 1,300 in supplier companies.

According to Sander, the basis for the social plan is 1,000 jobs that have already been promised. They could be “a good basis for creating something like a business park at this location.”

According to Saarland’s Economics Minister Jürgen Barke (SPD), the country has put a package worth a mid-three-digit million amount on the table. “As a country, we finally managed to agree on the key points of a shareholder agreement for a joint venture with the investor, other partners and the country,” he said.

Ford sees politics as “duty”

Now he “clearly sees Ford as having a duty to demonstrate its willingness to secure the future for its employees and to put reasonable offers on the table.” Barke announced that, regardless of this, he would “immediately enter a different mode of cooperation”.

The employees had high hopes for the works meeting on Thursday after concrete agreements with an investor were reported at the end of June. A binding preliminary contract should be drawn up by September 30th. The IG Metall union, which had demanded high severance payments for the employees, then canceled a planned strike vote.