May 8, 2012
Ford threatened with strikes in the UK 0
After narrowly avoiding strike action in the United States Ford are now threatened with strikes here in the UK. If the strikes do go ahead, they will be the first since 1970. Ford employ a total of 15,000 workers around the United Kingdom.
Fewer benefits for newcomers
The Ford division of the Unite Trade Union, which consists of 2,500 members at Ford will vote over new plans to start new workers at a lower wage rate and close off the final salary scheme to them. The majority of workers involved are said to be employed at Ford’s East London Dagenham factory. Ford sites in Southampton, Halewood and Basildon are also set see staff vote.
The idea is fiercely rejected
According to an official from the Unite Union, the employees “fiercely” reject the idea of starting newcomers off at such a poor rate. Roger Maddison, a Unite National Officer said “Ford faces the very real prospect of the first strike since the 1970s. Unite will not stand by and allow Ford to create a two tier workforce on pay and pensions. We urge Ford to return to the negotiating table if it wants to avoid this dispute,” If such a pay structure was to come into force, it may cause animosity and build uncomfortable working relationships down the line.
Ford determined to resolve dispute
Ford are determined to turn the stance of workers around. A company statement read “The Company has sought to discuss with the Union the financial challenges of its defined benefit pension funds, which are significantly in deficit. Around 80% of all private sector firms have now closed their defined benefit pension funds to new hires. The Company has categorically confirmed that it has no plans to close its pension funds to existing members and that the funds remain open to existing members,”
Made in Dagenham
This story echoes the sentiments of the film ‘Made in Dagenham’. This particular movie looks at the real life story of women machinists who fought the company to fight for equal pay, back in 1968.
Back in the 1970’s was the last time Ford’s workers went on strike. Again it was dispute over pay. Let’s hope that the same does not happen in 2012.
Can Ford turn this around? Will there be equal pay for everyone in the end?