Saturday, September 16, 2006

BBC - Is health care behind Ford's layoffs?

The BBC had this to say about Ford's announcement that thousands of employees had to go and that several plants were closing:

For years, managements at "The Big Three" have warned that the high costs of their healthcare, wage and pension packages have saddled their US operations with costs Asian and European carmakers didn't have to bear.

These so-called "legacy costs" have recently added up to $3,000 to the cost of every vehicle.

There are pensions and benefits to be paid in most advanced industrialized countries, but the USA puts the added burden on companies to fund the healthcare of their staff.

Interestingly, Ford's plants in Canada, where there's a national health service, are due to expand production, just as US plants contract or close. (Emphasis added.)

Ford seems to be sending a message, but is anybody listening? It sure doesn't seem to be getting through to Congress or to Bush. Not that I would have expected anything to get through to them anyway...

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