Ford faces fresh allegations over race

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The Independent Online

Labour Editor

Ford is facing new allegations over racism, with Bill Morris, leader of the transport workers' union, seeking a meeting with the company chairman over its equal-opportunities policy.

Transport and General Workers' Union officials are particularly concerned at the way jobs in the truck-driver division pass from father to son, excluding black workers. Officials want the "enlightened'' policies of the senior management to be applied throughout the company. National officials have clashed with their own shop stewards who represent the drivers and who are resisting a more open system.

The allegations follow Ford's embarrassment over an advertising photograph which had been touched up to excise members of ethnic minorities.

In a letter to Ian McAllister, Ford's chairman, Mr Morris, general secretary of the union, registered his "fundamental concern about racism in the company" and is expected to protest about the advertising brochure and other issues he believes involve discrimination. He refused to comment yesterday but a spokesman said the union was "on collision course" with Ford over racism.

The pounds 30,000-a-year drivers, based at Dagenham, are overwhelmingly white and exclusively male. Nearly 40 per cent of the workforce at the Essex plant are from ethnic minorities compared to 2 per cent of the 150 drivers, says the union.

Ford declined to comment.