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Ford UK Faces Strike over Pension Scheme

--Strike at seven plants for 24 hours from Monday June 18 --Action over closure of pension scheme to new entrants, lower pay for new recruits --Meetings with Ford have failed to resolve the dispute LONDON -- Motor giant Ford Motor Co. (F) faces the threat of strike action next week as its British staff resist efforts by the auto-manufacturer to close its pension scheme to new entrants and lower their rates of pay. The U.K.'s largest union, Unite--which represents 2,500 Ford staff or white-collar workers--said staff will strike for 24 hours Monday June 18 from 0500 GMT at seven sites across the U.K. The action comes after meetings with the company following a 67% vote for action in May failed to resolve the dispute. Unite said that it has been trying to reach a deal with Ford for months but the car company won't budge on closing the final salary scheme to new entrants. The labor union is also concerned that Ford will eventually close the scheme to all its U.K. staff. "Our staff members will not stand by and allow Ford to create a two-tier workforce on pay and pensions. To date Ford has failed to make any genuine attempts to resolve this dispute," said Unite national officer Roger Maddison. "Unless there is a last minute change of heart from the company, Ford faces a national strike this Monday," said Mr. Maddison. Unite is also resisting Ford UK's plans to pay new recruits less than existing staff. "Ford remains willing and available to continue discussions with the union representing the workers involved," a Ford spokesman said in an emailed statement. "The vast majority of the company's employees are not involved in this disagreement, or the decision to take industrial action," he added. Write to Marietta Cauchi at [email protected]

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