Ford pay claim to set the pace

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UNIONS representing thousands of UK workers at car maker Ford are to seek a "substantial" pay rise, two hours off the working week and retirement on full pension after 30 years, it was revealed yesterday.

A pay claim covering 19,000 hourly-paid employees will be handed to the company next month. It will be watched closely by union negotiators throughout the motor industry, who traditionally see the Ford deal as a pace-setter. This year's claim seeks a wage increase well above the rate of inflation, improved allowances and redundancy terms and two hours off the present 39-hour week.

The eventual deal is likely to be for two years and is expected to be given to Ford's 8,000 white-collar staff as well as manual workers.