Ford to invest £230m in Halewood plant

Around 500 Ford workers in UK could go on strike over cost-of-living pay dispute

Ford 'willing to continue dialogue'

Hundreds of Ford managers across the UK could go on strike as part of a dispute over a pay deal with the carmaker, according to the union Unite.

A ballot of around 500 workers opened today (Friday, May 10) and will run until the end of the month, with the managers due to decide whether to take industrial action over the dispute.

Unite has accused Ford of “corporate greed” and putting an “unacceptable” pay offer on the table.

Billions in profits

The union also claims the manufacturer is refusing to negotiate under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and that it snubbed Unite’s request to attend talks with the conciliation service Acas. Ford said it is “willing to continue dialogue” in the dispute.

In a press release, Unite said that the 500 managers, who organised and achieved union recognition in 2023, have been offered a performance-related bonus payment which provides no guarantee of a cost-of-living increase.

Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said: “Ford made billions in profits last year, it has more than enough money to put forward an acceptable no-strings-attached pay offer to these workers. 

“This is corporate greed, pure and simple. When a company can afford to pay, it should pay. Unite will be supporting our members 100 per cent.”

Workers balloted from Dunton to Daventry

The managers being balloted from now until May 30 are based at Ford’s sites across the country, including Dunton, Stratford, Dagenham, Daventry and Halewood. Any strike action mandated would severely impact the company’s operations.

According to Unite, last year Ford reported a full-year global net income of $4.3 billion (around £3.43bn on current exchange rates) on revenues of $176bn (£140.4bn), an increase of 11.4 per cent from 2022.

The adjusted earnings before interest and taxes for 2023 was $10.4bn (£8.3bn), while the outlook for 2024 is an adjusted EBIT of $10-$12bn (£7.98-£9.58bn).

An alienating’ move

“Ford is completely disregarding the recognition agreement it signed last year with Unite,” said Alison Spencer-Scragg, Unite’s national officer.

“It is trying to circumvent the collective bargaining these workers are entitled to by trying to impose a pay offer calculated on a defunct bonus model that has been rejected by our membership twice. 

“All Ford has done is alienate a key management group and made them more determined to collectively challenge the company’s unacceptable pay offer, and blanket refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations.

“This dispute will escalate unless Ford sits down with Unite with a view to reaching an acceptable deal.”

Rocky road for Ford GB

The carmaker responded with a brief official statement on the matter, which read: “Ford is willing to continue dialogue on the fair and balanced offer made and to offer any clarification required. We look forward to building on our success in the UK as Ford transforms its business in Europe.”

News of the potential strike action completes a difficult week for Ford, as it comes hot on the heels of the company’s eyebrow-raising announcement that it would henceforth be restricting the sales of new petrol vehicles in the UK, in order to avoid fines under the government’s electric vehicle mandate.

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