Vauxhall workers set to vote for action

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The Independent Online

Labour Editor

More than 10,000 employees at Vauxhall are thought to have voted decisively for industrial action in a ballot result due to be revealed today.

Manual workers at the company's Ellesmere Port and Luton plants have been offered a 7 per cent wage increase over two years, compared with a minimum of 9.25 per cent at Ford.

Tony Woodley, national secretary for the motor industry at the Transport and General Workers' Union, said his members were aware that Vauxhall was the most consistently profitable car company in Britain. "They feel strongly that the time has come for their company to pay up for the productivity and profitability."

The ballot result comes in the wake of a series of wildcat strikes at Ford by workers protesting over their offer which involves improvements in pension benefits, but fails to address their claim for a reduction in the working week from 39 to 37 hours.

Union leaders at Vauxhall are expected to call for fresh talks with management and will insist on new proposals which at least match those on offer at Ford.

Mr Woodley said Vauxhall workers were also conscious that elsewhere in the motor industry in Britain - apart from Ford - the working week was less than Vauxhall's 39 hours.

Ford workers are being consulted about the proposed deal prior to a meeting of union delegates from all of the company's plants on Wednesday, which will plan further action.