Ford faces British strike after workers reject no wage hike offer

British Union Unite on Wednesday said workers at Ford are prepared to strike if the automaker does not attend negotiations with conciliation service Acas. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The British union Unite said Wednesday Ford faces a strike by thousands of workers unless the company attends negotiations with conciliation service Acas.

Unite said Ford's contract offers of a bonus of 5% of salary but no actual wage increase have been rejected by over 90% of 3,000 employees.

"Ford is acting out of corporate greed with its offers of one-off payments and variable bonuses. It is extremely profitable and can fully afford to put forward proper no-strings pay offers for these workers," Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement.

Managers, who recently organized with Unite, were also offered the bonus with no cost-of-living guarantee, according to Unite.

"Whilst trade union members have voted internally at a members vote to reject the company's offer, Ford remains willing to continue dialogue through our established bargaining frameworks on the fair and balanced offer made," Ford said in a statement.

The company has not agreed to use the independent British conciliation service Acas for negotiations.

Unite said Ford last week "reported a full year net income of $4.3 billion on revenues of $176 billion -- an increase of 11.4%. The adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) for 2023 was $10.4 billion, while the outlook for 2024 is an adjusted EBIT of $10 billion to $12 billion."

In addition to not offering actual wage increases, Unite said Ford is also trying to change the current agreement on absences despite acknowledging there is no issue with worker attendance.

"Unite does not tolerate attacks on our members' jobs, pay or conditions and Ford's salaried and managerial staff have their union's full support," Graham said.

Inflation in Britain has led to workers in both public and private sectors striking. Doctors, nurses, Amazon workers, civil service workers and others have authorized strike action over the past two years seeking pay raises to offset inflation.

"Ford's workforce has rightly rejected these unacceptable pay offers," Unite national officer Allison Spencer-Craig said in a statement. "Anger amongst our members is such that if Ford continues to refuse to attend Acas talks, Unite will have no choice but to begin proceedings to hold a formal ballot for industrial action. I urge Ford to reconsider its position."