300 walk out at Ford Dagenham

John Phillips THREE hundred workers walked out at Ford Dagenham yesterday (Wed) after bosses unveiled a programme of nationwide redundancies thought to be worth �40million. The unofficial walkout in the body plant came after unions clashed with Ford of Europe chief exe

John Phillips

THREE hundred workers walked out at Ford Dagenham yesterday (Wed) after bosses unveiled a programme of nationwide redundancies thought to be worth �40million.

The unofficial walkout in the body plant came after unions clashed with Ford of Europe chief executive John Fleming over a proposed pay freeze and 850 voluntary redundancies by May.

The GMB union slammed management for reneging on a promise to grant a 5.25 per cent pay increase in November.


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They also criticised the 500 voluntary redundancies at the Southampton plant, plus 350 across the UK.

GMB national officer for Ford, Justin Bowden, 44, said: "They're saying there's economic difficulties. I can't think of a worse way of starting the process than by tearing up the pay offer they've made to their workforce.

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"This will do nothing but demotivate and anger the workforce."

Management confirmed that Ford of Europe had made $1.06billion - �684 million - profits last year but stressed it had lost more than $300million in the last quarter.

All 300 staff doing their shift in the body plant, which makes car frames, joined the unofficial walkout.

Mr Bowden said: "It was spontaneous anger. The staff were absolutely furious that the company is treating them with such contempt."

Mr Fleming said: "We are facing some immediate and major challenges which require us to take decisive action to reduce all our costs and to do so in ways which will best protect our business for the long term and ensure that we are well positioned to be among the winners when recovery does come.

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