Management at Ford Motor Company is trying to frighten professional staff into dropping their threat of industrial action, the MSF union is claiming.
The union's general secretary Roger Lyons told Personnel Today that rumours about plant closures have angered members. "This fiasco annoyed them. They are trying to frighten our people into losing their resolve. "
Rumours of plant closures filled the media last Thursday, after unnamed managers were said by the Financial Times to be expressing fears over the future of the Dagenham plant in Essex. The suspicion is that Ford deliberately fed reports to the media to scare staff into submission.
As a result staff feared an announcement due later that day of job losses. In fact it was about a home PCscheme for staff.
MSF has more than 2,000 members involved in the dispute with Ford. Professional staff, including engineers, IT and clerical staff, are demanding a pay deal equivalent to that already agreed by hourly-paid staff.
They also oppose Ford's demand to merge the Professional Staff and Hourly Paid pensions.
Unions representing staff said last week their members had voted to take strike action.
AFord spokeswoman said Ford of Europe chairman Nick Scheele spoke to the FT about the company's global future. She said his comments and the timing of the dispute were coincidental. She could not comment on speculation by unnamed managers.