Ford must engage in ACAS talks or risk industrial action: Unite

Unite has issued a warning to Ford on the possibility of strikes across its UK sites involving white-collar workers unless the company engages in negotiations.

The union is insisting that the car manufacturer must participate in talks with the conciliation service Acas, or else Unite will proceed with preparing its members for industrial action balloting.

Ford’s proposals for over 3,000 salaried staff and managers have been overwhelmingly rejected by more than 90% of both groups, according to the union.

Specifically, many salaried staff have been offered a one-time, unconsolidated payment of 5% of their salary for 2024, effectively resulting in no wage increase for the year.

Additionally, management grades, which have recently gained union recognition, have been presented with a performance-related bonus scheme that offers no guarantee of a cost-of-living adjustment.

Unite criticises Ford for suggesting changes to absence procedures despite acknowledging no issues with staff attendance.

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, accuses Ford of prioritising corporate greed over fair compensation for workers and asserts the union’s unwavering support for its members’ rights.

Despite Unite’s rejection of Ford’s pay offers, the company has reportedly declined to engage in Acas-mediated talks, prompting Unite to consider initiating a formal ballot for industrial action.

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

Ford, however, states that it has been in pay negotiations since the previous two-year deal expired at the end of last year and remains open to dialogue, stating: “Whilst trade union members have voted internally at a members vote to reject the company’s offer, Ford remains willing to continue dialogue through our established bargaining frameworks on the fair and balanced offer made.”

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