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AUDIO:CBC Windsor's the Early Shift interviews Dan Cassady, president of CAW Local 200, about the layoff of 388 Ford workers in Windsor, Ont. (Photo by Canadian Press)

Ford Motor Co. will lay off nearly 400 workers at its engine plant in Windsor, Ont.

The news comes just one day after General Motors closed its transmission plant, pulling out of the city after 90 years.

The Ford workers have been told they will be laid off beginning Nov. 1. Ford has decided to eliminate one shift at the plant.

However, as that happens, the automaker plans to begin another shift at the newly rebuilt Essex engine plant, also in Windsor.

The net loss of jobs in that move will be 388.


Dan Cassady, president of CAW Local 200, says the CAW was aware that a shift was going to be cut. ((Charlsie Agro/CBC))

"We were aware we were going to lose the shift, they just didn't have the numbers," said Dan Cassady, president of CAW Local 200, representing Ford workers.

"Now that they've got the numbers, we had to make sure that our members are aware of what's going on and how that will affect them.

Cassady said that at one point his local had more than 6,000 active members, but the number has plummeted to 1,730.

"And it's going to be less after these layoffs," he said.

Cassady said layoffs are determined by seniority and people will bid by seniority for jobs at Essex.

Autoworker Jim Bechard said he's hopeful more work will return to the engine plant.

"I guess my only concern was that I wouldn't return," he said. "That's always anybody's concern, they won't return to their jobs. It's our livelihood."

Ford Canada said earlier that it will close its St. Thomas, Ont., plant next year, leaving another 1,500 autoworkers without jobs.

Ford Canada employs about 6,000 people at assembly plants in Oakville, Ont., and St. Thomas, two engine plants in Windsor and parts distribution centres in Brampton, Ont., and Edmonton.

GM left 500 people in the Windsor area out of work when it closed its transmission plant on Wednesday.

With files from The Canadian Press