Strike ballots called across Ford manufacturing sites

More than 5,000 Ford UK workers are being balloted for strike action by union Unite in a dispute over changes to job security and pensions.

The dispute centres on the car manufacturer’s hourly paid workforce across five UK sites, who are demanding commitments to job security and calling for improvements to Ford’s pension scheme.

The staff from factories in Bridgend, Daventry, Halewood, Dunton and Dagenham remain concerned following the American car giant’s cull of around 1,500 jobs after it closed some UK facilities in 2012.

This included its production plant in Southampton and the closure of its Dagenham stamping and tooling facility, where staff took action last year following dissatisfaction over the management of the plant’s closure.

Roger Maddison, a Unite national officer, said workers want job security in line with other EU counterparts.

“Ford workers in the UK are always on the frontline when the company wants to axe staff,” he said.

“After successive rounds of job cuts including the closure of the Southampton plant, staff now want Ford to make some commitments to job security going forward.”

Unite added that Ford said in 2010 that it intends to link pension scheme payments to Consumer Price Index inflation, rather than the more generous Retail Price Index.

A spokesman for Ford said in a statement the company has a long established practice of negotiating the pay, conditions and working practices of employees with its partner unions in the UK.

“In 2011 a two-year agreement was reached and we re-entered discussions in 2013, recognising the priority for industry-leading levels of cost, efficiency and competitiveness,” they said.

“This process has been completed for some employees but is still underway between the company and unions for other areas of the workforce. There is nothing further to add regarding these negotiations.”