The next steps of Ford’s UK employees will be determined later this week when they will be meeting to decide if they would again hold a strike. Last Monday, a 24-hour-strike affected all sites in Britain. The Unite union’s white-collar members are objecting to Ford’s intention to cut the salaries of new workers and to prevent them from gaining entry into Ford’s final-salary pension scheme.
Six Ford sites were affected by the strike, one of which is the diesel engine plant in Dagenham, east London. A Ford spokesman told Automotive News Europe that there was “very little or no disruption” since most of the workforce didn’t get affected.
Out of 2,500 Ford employees in the UK, only 1,200 salaried employees joined the strike. There are 15,000 Ford employees in the UK. Hourly workers have agreed to a new wage and pension scheme for those who are new to Ford from now on.
Before the strike, Unite national officer Roger Maddison said in an interview that the union is “fiercely” opposing the closure of Ford's final salary scheme to new entrants since it believes that Ford will eventually shut down the entire scheme. He said that a "two-tier workforce” will result from the changes.
The Ford spokesman said that the company is reassuring everyone that the pensions are safe and that existing employees are in no danger of having their pension funds closed. He said that the terms of the agreement with the workers would be one of the most competitive in the UK industry.
Like other automakers, Ford wants to save on costs due to the slow market in Europe. New-car demand in the UK declined for the eighth straight month in May 2012, an 8.7% drop compared to the previous year. The UK reported a 7.9% growth, one of just a few markets to report a gain.