Ford production line halted by `mini-riot'

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The Independent Online
TROUBLE FLARED at Ford's Dagenham plant when workers were asked to finish making cars their day-shift colleagues had been unable to complete.

As many as 50 cars were vandalised by workers armed with screwdrivers, according to reports that have leaked out of the Essex factory. One worker described last Thursday's events as a "mini-riot".

The confrontation with managers happened after the night shift arrived to find the day shift had been unable to make any Fiestas, Britain's best-selling car, because bumpers had failed to arrive. The workers usually spend Thursday night on "maintenance tasks" and "developing better working techniques". But last Thursday they were asked to finish the cars their day-time colleagues had been unable to build.

A Ford spokesman said: "There was a slight stoppage caused by a disagreement with workers over an issue of work allocation." He said production had been stopped but denied any cars or machinery had been damaged. Other sources claim paint work was gouged on cars and windscreens were smashed.

A spokeswoman for the Transport and General Workers Union confirmed workers had downed tools for around half an hour last week. She said the company had taken no disciplinary action and none was expected.

The incident took place just hours after Sukhjit Parma, a Ford worker, won his employment tribunal case over the "institutional racism" he had suffered at the nearby Dagenham engine plant. The incidents are not believed to be linked.

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