Ford's UK staff to go on council for Ford

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The Independent Online
The Ford car company is to give UK workers full representation in a European works council under an agreement to be signed formally in a few days, despite the opt-out from the Maastricht Treaty negotiated by the Government.

Around 80,000 Ford staff in Europe will be covered by the works council, with almost 30,000 of them in Britain. The agreement gives Ford's UK employees five out of the 18 representatives on the committee, who will probably be elected by union shop stewards. Of the other countries represented, five seats will go to German workers, with three to the Belgians, two to the French and Spanish and one to the Portuguese.

Like all the other UK multinationals that have so far complied with the European works council legislation, Ford has chosen not to use the get- out clause which allows companies to exclude their British staff from the arrangement. Firms with more than 1,000 employees and 150 in at least two member states have to set up councils.

A draft of the Ford agreement document suggests issues for discussion at annual council meetings with management could cover "downsizing or closure of subsidiaries", "mass redundancies" and changes to working practices.

Separately, unions at Rover are to demand a pay increase well above the rate of inflation and a return to annual wage bargaining when they begin negotiations with management today.