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Ford Strike Threat Over Moves to Fund Jobs Cuts With Pay Cuts

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LONDON, February 5, 2009: Moves by Ford to cut around 850 jobs across its UK plants, and freeze a negotiated pay deal, have today (Thursday) been denounced as a 'betrayal' of a loyal workforce by the workers' union Unite, which is warning the car giant that cutting workers' pay to meet redundancy payments could lead to industrial action.

According to Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary: "These proposals are completely unacceptable and a betrayal of Ford's loyal UK workforce. Ford are asking the workers to take a cut in pay to preserve jobs, but workers are asking themselves if their pay is being cut to pay for friends and colleagues to be thrown onto the dole."

The union is warning that unless Ford thinks again on this strategy it will have no option but to ballot members on industrial action to protect jobs and pay.

Tony Woodley continued: "Ford has today reached a new low in corporate integrity. While their executives pay themselves handsomely and their European profits alone totalled $1.06 billion in 2007/2008, they are using the challenging global circumstances to cut the jobs and pay of the workers who helped make them these massive profits.

"They must respect this pay deal. If they fail to do so, then we will have no other choice but to consult our members on how they wish to take to defend their jobs and pay."

Unite negotiated a three year pay deal from 2008 across Ford UK. This was accepted overwhelmingly by the workforce, having been proposed by the company in October as the credit crunch began to squeeze the car sector.

Ford claims that the slump in demand is such that they need to slash 850 UK jobs and freeze pay. But Unite is questioning why Ford is on the one hand declining to apply for US Congress financial assistance on the basis that it has the liquidity to ride out the crisis, while on the other is seeking to cut jobs and pay in the UK.