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Strike for Ford Technical Research Centre workers at Dunton
FORD workers in south Essex walked out in a 24-hour strike over pay and pensions.
Workers at both the Technical Research Centre, in Dunton, Basildon, and the head office at Warley, downed tools yesterday after 67 per cent of union members employed by the car giant voted to strike.
The Unite union, which represents the staff, said the strike was over Ford’s decision to close the final salary pension scheme to new workers and lower their rates of pay.
The union said it believed the decision on pensions was the “thin edge of the wedge” and Ford is preparing to close the final salary pension scheme to all staff.
Roger Maddison, of the Unite union, said: “Our staff members will not stand by and allow Ford to create a two-tier workforce on pay and pensions.
“To date, Ford has failed to make any genuine attempts to resolve this dispute.
“We fiercely oppose the closure of Ford’s final salary scheme to new entrants, because we believe, ultimately, Ford will try to close the entire scheme.
“The company is also refusing to back away from creating a two-tier workforce by making new starters work for less money doing the same job as existing staff. This is totally unacceptable.”
Laindon Park Labour councillor John Scarola recently retired from Ford after working there for 40 years. During this time he represented workers and negotiated their terms and conditions.
He said: “Having a two-tier workforce does not work.
“They tried it at Visteon, where they had two or three groups of people doing the same job for different money, and it didn’t work.
“It is always going to cause problems, because ultimately it means driving salaries down. That is what they are trying to do.”
A Ford spokesman said: “The issue giving rise to the industrial action relates to a disagreement between the company and a particular group of its employees in relation to their ongoing pay and benefit negotiations.
“Ford remains willing and available to continue discussions with the union representing these workers.
“The vast majority of the company’s employees are not involved in this disagreement, or the decision to take industrial action.”
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