Ford Dagenham strike ‘not ruled out’

18:48 14 January 2013

Redundancies: Unite has not ruled out industrial action to fight the proposed closures in Chequers Lane

Redundancies: Unite has not ruled out industrial action to fight the proposed closures in Chequers Lane

Archant

Ford workers facing the axe have not ruled out industrial action to fight the closure of their plant in Dagenham, Britain’s biggest union confirmed today.

The Unite union acknowledged a strike or any other type of action may be on the cards after the US car giant unveiled plans to shut the stamping and tooling facilities in July.

Up to 750 staff could lose their jobs at the factory in Chequers Lane.

Unite official Vince Passfield said: “We are not ruling anything out. We are considering all options. Where we stand at the moment is not satisfactory.”

The former Ford Dagenham worker told the Post that Unite had gone in “cold war” mode with management after the car maker unveiled the planned closures last October.

Ford bosses said proposed job cuts at Dagenham and another plant in Southampton were put forward to offset losses on European markets.

But Unite claimed the plans were driven as much by the economic downturn as “opportunism”.

The union stressed there were realistic prospects for stamping plant workers hoping to transfer to the Ford engine plant in Dagenham this summer.

However, Unite indicated that of the 200 or so tool plant workers was dependent on a major career change and may be more uncertain.

A union spokesman added: “Unite recognises the global difficulties but remains convinced the decision is as much about opportunism as market conditions.

“Many questions require a satisfactory response to enable workers to make an informed decision on their future or whether there is a need to industrially pursue Ford on these related issues.

“We are yet to discuss the separation package, however have been clear that it is currently unacceptable.

“We have three meetings scheduled for January and intend to consult membership thereafter.

“Unite are ruling nothing out.”

A Ford spokesman said: “We are in an important consultation period with our employees and their representatives during which any discussions remain confidential between the company and its employees.

“Ford does not comment on the timing of internal discussions or meetings involving its employees.”