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Ford cleaners offered three per cent pay rise as union pushes for living wage

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 February 2019

The Ford Dagenham engine plant. Picture: Isabel Infantes.

The Ford Dagenham engine plant. Picture: Isabel Infantes.

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Cleaners at Ford Dagenham are being urged to accept the offer of a three per cent pay rise by union officials.

The rise, hailed as ‘inflation-busting’ by the union Unite, has been backdated to January 1.

The offer has been given to 150 cleaners employed by Hamton Environmental cleaning contractors. The cleaners are on fixed-hours contracts.

There has also been written commitment from the company that wages will rise to the London living wage (currently £10.55 per hour).

However, this rise to the living wage is dependant on ‘improving market conditions’. Whether this happens is far from certain with the impending exit from the EU.

Unite regional officer Matt Smith negotiated for the cleaners and has been with the union for over a decade. He was a union representative at a printing press before joining Unite.

He said: “We believe that a company should be paying the London living wage and so, despite the environment, we’d still be pushing for that even if the conditions hadn’t improved.

“The negotiations were tough because the environment is tough, in regards to the amount of productivity that’s currently happening in the automotive sector.”

He added that the offer is good news in the current Brexit uncertainty and the context of the: “abject failure of ministers to formulate a comprehensive industrial strategy for manufacturing generally, and the automotive sector specifically.”

The Retail Price Index, which is the higher of the two inflation measures, was used to measure success in the negotiations, which began in December. Inflation in January was 2.5 per cent according to the RPI.

The cleaners will now vote on the offer, with a result expected in early March.

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