Ford is being told to attend negotiations over "unacceptable" pay offers or face strikes at its UK sites - including in Essex.

The car company has been told it must attend negotiations with the conciliation service Acas or Unite will begin preparing to ballot its members for industrial action, the union said today.

Offers put forward by Ford for more than 3,000 salaried staff and managers have been rejected by more than 90 per cent by both sets of workers.

The offer for many of the salaried staff is an unconsolidated one-off payment of five per cent of their salary for 2024, meaning their actual wages will not increase this year, Unite claims.

It also says management grades have been offered a performance related bonus payment, which provides no guarantee of a cost-of-living increase. 

In addition, the company has proposed changes to the current absence processes.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Ford is acting out of corporate greed with its offers of one-off payments and variable bonuses. It is extremely profitable and can fully afford to put forward proper no strings pay offers for these workers.

“Unite does not tolerate attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and Ford’s salaried and managerial staff have their union’s full support.”

Following the rejection of the pay offers by Unite’s members, the union requested Ford enter talks mediated by Acas, which it says the company has refused to do.

A spokesman for Ford UK said: "Ford has been in pay negotiations with employee representatives since the end of last year, as its previous two-year deal ends. 

"Whilst trade union members have voted internally at a members vote to reject the company’s offer, Ford remains willing to continue dialogue through our established bargaining frameworks on the fair and balanced offer made."

The workers are based at the Ford site in Dunton, as well as Stratford, Dagenham, Daventry and Halewood.

Unite national officer, Allison Spencer-Scragg, said: “Ford’s workforce has rightly rejected these unacceptable pay offers. Anger amongst our members is such that if Ford continues to refuse to attend Acas talks, Unite will have no choice but to begin proceedings to hold a formal ballot for industrial action.

“I urge Ford to reconsider its position.”