Ford workers offered 11-per-cent deal

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The Independent Online

Union leaders representing 28,000 Ford car workers were today considering an inflation-busting pay offer worth almost 11% over three years.

Union leaders representing 28,000 Ford car workers were today considering an inflation-busting pay offer worth almost 11% over three years.

The car giant, which has 16 plants in the UK, has offered a rise of 4% from this month; 3.25% or the rate of inflation plus 0.5% - whichever is greater - in year two; and 3.5% or the rate of inflation plus 1% in year three.

The company is also understood to have offered a 90 minute cut in the working week from 39 hours to 37.5.

The offer, made during three days of negotiations which ended last night, is a huge improvement on Ford's opening offer of a 2% pay rise and an increase in line with inflation in years two and three.

Neither the company nor unions would confirm details of the offer today.

The Ford deal is traditionally seen as setting a benchmark for industry and is closely watched by union and management negotiators at other companies.

Unions had described Ford's opening offer as "derisory", arguing that productivity had improved massively in recent years, and pressed for a two-hour cut in the working week as well as a substantial pay rise.

The company has been hit by a number of strikes in recent weeks, mainly at its biggest UK plant at Dagenham, Essex.

Hundreds of toolmakers were absent for three days this week in an official dispute over allowances, and there have been unofficial stoppages.

The future of car giant Ford's engine plant in South Wales will be secured for at least five years under a move to rationalise production, it was being announced today.

The plant at Bridgend has lost out to Valencia in Spain in a long-running battle to build a new engine.

But its future has been safeguarded by becoming the European centre for producing the high-performance Zetec engine.

Ford was expected to announce later today that production of the Zetec, presently built at Bridgend, Valencia and Cologne in Germany, will be concentrated in South Wales.

The company is understood to have decided that significant economies can be achieved by switching production from the other plants.

Bridgend produces more than 500,000 engines a year for the Ford Focus, Mondeo and Cougar as well as the V8 engine for the Jaguar.

Ford is expected to announce increased investment for the factory, which opened in 1980 and now employs 1,500.

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