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Foremen at British Ford Plants Reject Firm's 'Final' Pay Offer

February 25, 1988|From Reuters

LONDON — Foremen at Ford plants in Britain have rejected a final pay offer aimed at averting another strike at the country's largest car maker, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

Union spokesmen were unavailable for comment but press reports said the company's 9,000 white-collar foremen would be asked to vote soon on whether to strike.

"They rejected our final offer," the Ford spokesman said after talks broke down Tuesday night.

He said a walkout would have little immediate effect on production that resumed on Monday after an 11-day strike for higher pay by 32,500 hourly workers.

Ford had offered the foremen a pay package similar to the one accepted by the blue-collar workers, ensuring them a rise of at least 14% over the next two years.

The spokesman said the company had agreed, in return for acceptance of the wage deal, to drop plans to replace foremen with Japanese-style work team leaders who would head a group of about 20 workers of varied trades and skills.

Under the present system, foremen are responsible for their own trade group. Union negotiators say the work team system will allow the company to replace foremen with unskilled supervisors and lead to job losses.

At state-owned Land Rover, a strike by 6,000 hourly workers entered its third day and the company warned that it may be forced to withdraw its final pay proposal if the walkout continues.

"If the strike continues, our business will be damaged and our ability to pay even the final offer will be in doubt," managing director Tony Gilroy said in a statement.

The company, which produces all-terrain vehicles, estimated that the strike was costing it $5.3 million a day in lost production.

Land Rover has offered the workers a 14% raise over two years but unions say the package is worth only 8%.

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