Unite, the union, has warned Ford it intends to ballot around 11,000 members for industrial action in response to the employer’s plan to link pension payments to the consumer price index (CPI).
Ford informed Unite in early January that it intends to use the CPI to calculate inflation linked increases to pension payments rather than the usually higher retail price index (RPI).
Unite has claimed the move will bring significant financial loss to employees, including those currently employed by Ford and a further 30,000 ex-employees who draw a company pension.
The union intends to ballot the national Ford workforce, including its two Dagenham plants, Bridgend, Halewood, Daventry and Dunton.
Unite national officer, Roger Maddison said: “There is a real possibility of a national strike at Ford for the first time since the 1970s.
“Unite will not stand idly by while a company worth billions attempts to rob workers and vulnerable pensioners of potentially thousands of pounds.
“This is an opportunistic attack on over 40,000 current and former Ford workers.
“It is disgraceful and immoral for Ford to target pensioners who have spent a lifetime saving for their retirement and giving their best to the Ford Motor Company.
“We hope Ford quickly realise it has misjudged the strength of feeling among the workforce and step back from this decision.”
A statement from Ford said: “The government’s action in connection with pension increases has been the subject of discussions between Ford and the unions.
“Ford has carefully considered the points raised by the unions on behalf of their members and appreciates the seriousness with which the unions view this issue.
“The agreed forum for discussing matters of this nature is the pay talks scheduled for later in the year. The company confirms its aim in these discussions will be to achieve, in light of prevailing business conditions, a realistic outcome that recognises union concerns over the effect of the government’s action on employees.”
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