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Ford facing potential strike of 3,000 UK white-collar workers


The logo of car manufacturer Ford is pictured in Inwood, New York, on February 5, 2024. 

Charly Triballeau | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Ford was warned on Wednesday that more than 3,000 white-collar workers across the U.K. could launch industrial action after union members rejected a pay offer from the U.S. automotive giant.

Unite, one of the U.K.’s largest trade unions, said although offers put forward by Ford for salaried staff and managers had been rejected by more than 90% among both sets of workers, the company had so far refused to come to the negotiating table.

The union warned Ford that if it did not attend negotiations via Acas, the U.K.’s independent conciliation service, it would begin the process of balloting its members on potential strike action. This would take place at Ford sides across the country, from Liverpool to Essex.

Unite characterized the pay offer from Ford for many of the salaried staff as “an unconsolidated one-off payment of five per cent of their salary for 2024, meaning their actual wages will not increase this year.”

Members in management grade positions were allegedly offered a “performance related bonus payment, which provides no guarantee of a cost-of-living increase.”

Workers across the U.K.’s public and private sectors have walked out in recent years as the country’s inflation-fueled cost of living crisis hammered real wages and household bills.

Ford was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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Unite also said Ford had proposed changes to the current absence processes, despite acknowledging that staff attendance was not a problem.

“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 General Secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement.

“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.”

Ford last week reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and posted full-year adjusted earnings before interest and taxation, or EBIT, of $10.42 billion on revenue of $176.2 billion.

“Ford’s workforce has rightly rejected these unacceptable pay offers,” Unite National Officer Allison Spencer-Scragg said.

“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.”


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