Staff at Ford face lowest rise in 20 years

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UNION leaders at Ford last night recommended acceptance of the lowest pay rise the workforce has seen for more than 20 years.

The two-year deal worth 2.5 per cent from 24 November, and 3.5 per cent or the rate of inflation next year, is the lowest since statutory wage controls in the 1960s and early 1970s. The settlement will be welcomed by the Government, as Ford's 23,400 manual workers have become pay pacesetters for private industry.

Although the increase is above the 1.8 per cent rate of inflation, it underlines the trend of wage restraint in a period of low cost-of-living rises. Tony Woodley, chief union negotiator, said: 'With inflation being exceeded in year one and our members' standard of living protected in year two, we are more than pleased.'

Unions resisted company demands to reduce lay-off pay from 100 per cent to 80 per cent. Falling demand is expected to lead to further lay- offs and production cuts next year.

Delegates at a special conference of the National Union of Mineworkers yesterday voted for selective strike action and an overtime ban in support of their 'substantial' pay claim. A secret postal ballot will be held at the beginning of December.