Unite has told Ford it will ballot hundreds of members at at Essex plant over closure plans

Tim Lezard

Unite Don't break britain flagUnite has given formal notice to the car-maker, Ford, that it will ballot hundreds of members at the massive Dagenham factory in Essex over plans to close the plant in July, with at least 100 redundancies.

UnionNews understands the ballot follows a secret workplace vote in which 81% rejected the closure plans.

Officials say workers at the car giant’s UK factories are being offered redundancy packages worth around £50,000 less per person than their colleagues at a Ford plant in Belgium which is also earmarked for closure under cost-cutting plans announced last year.

Unite says at least 110 skilled workers at Dagenham – some of whom have more than 20 years experience as tool-makers – have been offered no suitable alternative employment by the company. However, officials say Ford has continued to employ agency staff and has not yet finalised plans which could secure new, long-term engine-building work at the plant.

The 2-week ballot opens on 16 April.

It means that if workers vote to strike, industrial action could begin in early May.

Activists have warned of a “very hostile” industrial atmosphere building over the dispute and they expect other Ford operations in the UK could become involved.

More details to come.

Follow us on Twitter @UnionNewsUK for updates.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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