Ford employees to be balloted for industrial action over pensions and pay

Ford employees will be balloted for industrial action over changes to their pensions and pay rates.

The changes include the closure of the final salary pension scheme to new joiners and lower rates of pay for new joiners.

The union Unite has been attempting to reach a deal on behalf of the 2,500 UK Ford staff for many months.

Roger Maddison, national officer at Unite, said: “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.

“We fiercely oppose the closure of Ford’s final salary scheme to new entrants. This is the thin end of the wedge. Ultimately, we believe Ford will try to close the entire scheme.

“To make matters worse, the organisation is trying to create a two-tier workforce by making new starters work for 10% less money for doing the same job as existing staff. This is totally unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Ford said: “Ford remains willing and available to resume discussions with the union representing salaried workers.

“The organisation has sought to discuss with the union the financial challenges of its defined benefit (DB) pension funds, which are significantly in deficit. Around 80% of all private sector firms have now closed their DB pension funds to new hires. 

“Ford 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.

“The organisation has sought to discuss with the union ways in which to position its employment package for the future so that our manufacturing plants and facilities are able to effectively compete for future business opportunities.

“The proposed new hire rates would still be among the most competitive in the UK automotive industry.

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“Negotiations with the committee representing hourly-paid employees have resulted in Ford making a detailed offer on pay and conditions that the Union committee has ratified with its members.”

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