February 14 (UPI) — Britain’s Unite union said on Wednesday Ford faces a strike by thousands of workers unless the company attends talks with conciliation service Acas.
Unite said Ford’s contract offers a 5% wage bonus but no real pay rise has been rejected by more than 90% of the 3,000 workers.
“Ford is acting out corporate greed with its one-time payment offers and different bonuses. It’s a great benefit and it’s fully affordable to make reasonable offers of unconditional pay to these workers,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement.
Managers, who recently organized with Unite, were also given bonuses without a cost-of-living guarantee, according to Unite.
“While union members have voted internally in a member’s vote to reject the company’s offer, Ford is still willing to continue negotiations through us. establish discussion systems on a fair and equitable offer,” Ford said in a statement.
The company has not agreed to use the UK’s independent conciliation service Acas for negotiations.
Unite said Ford last week “reported full-year earnings of $4.3 billion on revenue of $176 billion — an increase of 11.4%. Adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) for 2023 was $10.4 billion, while expectations for 2024 are. Adjusted EBIT of $10 billion to $12 billion.”
In addition to not offering a real pay rise, Unite said Ford is also trying to change the current absenteeism agreement despite admitting there is no issue with staff attendance.
“Unite does not tolerate attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and Ford’s paid staff and management have the full support of their union,” Graham said.
Inflation in the UK has caused workers in the public and private sectors to go on strike. Doctors, nurses, Amazon workers, civil service workers and others have authorized strike action over the past two years to demand higher wages to combat inflation.
“Ford workers have rejected these unacceptable pay offers,” Unite national officer Allison Spencer-Craig said in a statement. “The anger among our members is that if Ford continues to refuse to attend Acas talks, Unite will have no choice but to begin the process of formally voting for industrial action. I am asking Ford to reconsider its position.”