Staff at Jaguar seek big pay rise

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The Independent Online
UNIONS representing 2,000 white-collar workers at Jaguar, Ford's luxury-car division, will today table a 'substantial' pay claim to cover the next two years, writes Russell Hotten.

Jim Thomas, chairman of the union negotiating committee, said they also wanted guarantees of no compulsory redundancies, five days' paternity leave, and a holiday bonus. The claim is expected to follow Ford's benchmark 4 per cent deal being introduced on 1 November. General Motors' Vauxhall workers also settled on 4 per cent.

The unions are thought to be very keen to secure a deal of no forced redundancies because, despite substantial investment and new product plans for Jaguar's West Midlands plants, fears persist that Ford will transfer work away from the area.

Nick Scheele, Jaguar's chairman, has said that Ford's total investment in the luxury car maker will total about pounds 1bn in the seven years to the end of 1996.

Jaguar can ill-afford any disruption at the company, which is expected to return to profit next year after six years of heavy losses.

Mr Thomas, a national officer for the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union, said: 'The recent rise in interest rates, on top of April's hike in taxes, has hit Jaguar workers hard.

'They want a pay rise that leaves them better off, and they want a guarantee from the company that they will not be dumped on the unemployment scrapheap at the first sign of trouble.'

The white collar workers' last pay deal, two years ago, was for a 4 per cent rise each year. A grade one white collar worker earns about pounds 18,000 a year.

Jaguar said it would respond to the claim next month, and final negotiations would take place in November. Manual workers have also lodged a claim for a pay rise and no compulsory redundancies.