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Ford Faces Potential Strike Of 3,000 Employees Across UK Over Pay Dispute

The union representing the workers issued an ultimatum saying Ford must attend the pay negotiations
Cover Source Image: A logo bonnet badge on a Ford GT | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble
Cover Source Image: A logo bonnet badge on a Ford GT | Getty Images | Photo by John Keeble

US automaker Ford is facing potential industrial action across its UK sites. Over 3,000 white-collar workers, represented by Unite, one of the country's largest trade unions, have rejected the company's pay offer with a staggering 90% disapproval rate. The union has issued an ultimatum to Ford saying that it must attend the negotiations with the conciliation service Acas or Unite, or else the union will begin preparing to ballot its members for strikes at Ford’s sites across the country. So far, Ford has refused to come to the negotiating table, according to CNBC.


Representative Image of recycling workers organised by the UNITE trade union | Getty Images | Photo by Guy Smallman
Representative Image of recycling workers organised by the UNITE trade union | Getty Images | Photo by Guy Smallman

According to Unite’s official release, Ford’s offer for many of the salaried staff is an unconsolidated one-off payment of 5% of their salary for 2024. This according to the union means that the workers’ wages will not increase this year and will not compensate for the rise in cost of living.

The management grades, who have recently organized and achieved union recognition, have rejected the salary offer. As per the release, the workers are based at Ford sites including Halewood, Dunton, Stratford, Dagenham, and Daventry.

Ford has also offered a performance-related bonus payment, which the union says provides no guarantee of a cost-of-living increase.

Further, the union stated that the company has proposed changes to the current absence processes, despite acknowledging that there was no issue with staff attendance.

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


“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’s General Secretary, Sharon Graham said in a statement.

In response to the potential strikes, Ford said it has been in pay negotiations with employee representatives since the end of last year, as its previous two-year deal ends.

“Whilst trade union members have voted internally at members vote to reject the company’s offer, Ford remains willing to continue the dialogue through our established bargaining frameworks on the fair and balanced offer made,” the company said as per the CNBC report

Workers across the UK.’s public and private sectors have recently staged protests and walkouts in recent years as the country’s inflation-fueled cost-of-living crisis impacted real wages and household bills.


Earlier this month, nearly 200 workers at a factory that makes Lucozade and Ribena, called a strike over a pay dispute. The staff members, who are also part of Unite, initiated a week-long action against their employer, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I on February 5, BBC reported.

Unite stated that it was the first such walkout to take place at the site since the 1970s, as Suntory had failed to address the impact of the cost of living crisis on staff.

Previously in 2022, the U.K. recorded the highest number of working days lost to labour disputes in over 30 years, official data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed, as per The Economic Times. The ONS said nearly 2.5 million working days were lost to industrial action in 2022, which was the highest since 1989, when 4.1 million days were lost.