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Ford: "Disappointed" by strike ballot

Unite workers are being balloted about possible strike action over the closure of the Dagenham plant Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Ford said: "We are disappointed that the company's voluntary redundancy and redeployment proposals for employees affected by the closure of Dagenham stamping and tooling operations have been rejected and that the union has said that it plans to ballot its membership on possible industrial action.

"We continue, however, to engage in discussions with our workforce at Dagenham stamping and tool operations, and we are continuing to work with a variety of stakeholders to provide information and support to our employees."

Ford workers balloted on strike action

Unite says more than 650 of its members will vote on whether to strike Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Hundreds of workers at car giant Ford are to be balloted for strikes following a decision to close their plant.

Unite said more than 650 of its members at the stamping and tooling site in Dagenham will vote in coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.

Ford workers on the picket line in Dagenham in a previous strike over pay and pensions in June 2012 Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

The dispute stems from a decision last year to end production at Ford's plant in Southampton and to close Dagenham. Unite said more than 100 toolmakers have not been found suitable jobs, and workers being redeployed are being given little information about the work they'll be doing.

National officer Roger Maddison said:

"Ford betrayed its workers when it announced the closure of its plants and now the company is rubbing salt into the loyal workers' wounds by treating them with contempt.

"The workers at Dagenham are furious and they are right to want to stand up to the company's despicable behaviour. Skilled workers with over 20 years of experience are being forced to change career but are being given no information about what they'll be doing.

A view of the Dagenham plant from the River Thames Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA.

"Many of them will have their pensions severely slashed and some workers might fail capability tests and be sacked after all. To make matters worse, over 100 workers have not even been found suitable work despite the company's promise to do so.

"Skilled workers with years of experience are being thrown on the scrapheap. Workers who feel they have to accept a severance package are being offered up to £30,000 less than their colleagues in Southampton.

"Whether the workforce chooses to stay or go, it is being treated like a second class citizen.

"To make matters worse Ford is bullying workers with threats to withdraw the package on offer if workers take action. A vote for strike action will send a clear message to Ford that its betrayal can't and won't stand."

The ballot result is due on the 1st of May.

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Ford: 'We recognise impact of actions on employees'

Using the same One Ford plan that led to strong profitability in North America, we will address the crisis in Europe with a laser focus on new products, as tronger brand and increased cost efficiency.

We recognise the impact our actions will have on many employees and their families in Europe, and we will work together with all stakeholders during this necessary transformation of our business.

While we are facing near-term challenges in Europe, we are fully committed to transforming our European business by moving decisively to match production to demand, improve revenue through new products and a stronger brand, improve our cost efficiencies and take advantage of opportunities to profitably grow our business.

– Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO

Up to 750 jobs to go at Dagenham Ford plant

by Phil Bayles

Unions have described the loss of up to 750 jobs at a Ford plant in Dagenham as a "devastating blow".

Justin Bowden of the GMB union says the news that Ford will close the Stamping and Tooling plant came as a complete shock and workers arriving had no warning that their jobs were going. Ford blames the closure on a fall in business for commercial vehicles. Sales have dropped 28% in four years.

The company says it is offering relocation to the new engine plant in Dagenham, or generous redundancy payouts for those who want to leave. Workers though fear that if they transfer they will eventually lose their jobs at the engine plant too.

Union accuses Ford of betrayal as production ends

Unite, Britain's biggest union, has accused Ford of betraying its loyal workforce in Dagenham and Southampton, as well as its loyal UK customer base and has vowed to fight the closures announced.

Ford has announced the closure of its stamping and tooling facility in Dagenham and the end of production of the renowned transit van at its plant in Southampton by 2013, with a total loss of around 1500 jobs and more in the supply chain.

Ford has betrayed its workforce and its loyal customer base. Unite is going to fight these closures. This announcement has been handled disgracefully.

Only a few months ago Ford was promising staff a new transit model for Southampton in 2014. The planned closures will really hurt the local economies and the supply chain will be badly hit - up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk.

The Transit has been the best-selling van in the UK for over a quarter of a century.

It has a future in the UK if this government is prepared to fight for real jobs and persuade Ford to keep manufacturing vehicles in the UK.

It's now time for Vincent Cable to put his words into action and intervene for the sake of British manufacturing and skilled jobs.

Unite will be meeting with our own UK union representatives and our European colleagues over the coming days to discuss the next steps.

Where is the 'good news' in the real economy today Mr Cameron? Ford is ending vehicle production in the UK after almost a century.

– Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

For more on this story visit the ITV News Meridian website.

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Ford responds to strike announcement

Ford has said it wants to discuss the pay and pensions issues which has led to Unite union members calling a strike on Monday.

A spokesman said: "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."

Ford Dagenham workers to go on strike

Staff at the Ford plant in Dagenham are to stage a 24-hour strike starting at 6am on Monday. It is part of a national strike organised by the Unite union in a row over pay and pensions. The union says Ford wants to lower rates of pay and close the final salary pension scheme to new employees.

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