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Roger Lyons, General Secretary of the MSF union
"They work longer hours for lower pay"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 13:04 GMT
Ford staff vote for walkout

Ford worker Production workers to get 15% over three years

Engineers and other white collar workers at car giant Ford have voted to walk out in a row over pay.

Union leaders are meeting on Wednesday to decide their next step after thousands of traditionally moderate professional staff voted to strike by 2-1.

They want the same pay settlement as that won by production line staff last year - 15% over three years and a cut in the working week. Ford has offered them 11% over three years.

Talks will be held with the company in London next Monday to try to resolve the dispute and a separate row over plans to merge the staff and hourly paid workers' pension funds.

'Severe disruption'

"Obviously we will be discussing the outcome of the ballot at that meeting," said Ford's Manager of Corporate Affairs, John Gardiner.

"However we should stress that the final offer we made last December still remains on the table."

Bob Purkiss, national officer of the Transport and General Workers Union, said: "Industrial action by professional staff would undoubtedly cause severe disruption to Ford's UK operations."

Terry Pye, national officer of the Manufacturing Science and Finance union said: "Ford have made a big mistake thinking our members were not serious about taking industrial action for equal pay and to save their pension fund."

The 3,000 workers involved in the dispute are based at Ford plants across the UK, including the huge factories at Dagenham in Essex and Halewood on Merseyside, and the company's design centre at Dunton, Essex.

Landmark deal

Ford production workers agreed an inflation-busting three-year pay deal in November which included a 90-minute cut in the working week.

The settlement means an average Ford production worker will be paid some 406 in three years - an extra 40 a week.

It was the first time a three-year pay deal had been agreed between unions and the company and the first cut in hours for 17 years.

Ford agreed to cut the working week from 39 to 37.5 hours and improve pensions, which are worth around 1,300 a year.

Chief union negotiator Tony Woodley described the agreement as a "landmark" deal which was worth more than 15% overall.

Mr Woodley, national officer of the Transport and General Workers Union, said the settlement rewarded workers for productivity gains which had enabled Ford to make substantial profits from its UK plans.

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See also:
15 Nov 99 |  The Company File
Ford's 'landmark' pay deal
19 Jan 00 |  Business
Ford staff in strike vote
05 Oct 99 |  The Company File
Ford workers walkout
14 Nov 99 |  The Company File
Ford faces pricing probe

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