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Striking at Fords to defend pensions
Salaried workers at Fords staged a 24-hour strike across the UK on Monday 18 June, after the company tied November's pay negotiations to an agreement to closing the final salary pension scheme to new entrants.
On the picket line in Fords Dagenham, staff Unite and GMB reps told the Socialist: 'We're here today to protest about the way the company has treated us regarding pensions and the two-tier workforce.
'The company is following the trend of all major companies since government legislation allowed companies to change our pensions, and is clearly one step closer to closing down the final salary pension scheme for all workers at Dagenham'.
The hourly paid workers had already voted very narrowly, and no doubt with great reluctance, to accept similar terms to those now being offered by the company to the salaried staff.
"The company has refused to have meaningful negotiations with the trade unions", a rep on the picket line said.
"They treat us like children. We believe they are hiding behind the current economic climate to get their workers onto poorer pay and conditions."
Another rep said: "I began working here at sixteen. I didn't expect when I was 54 to be fighting for my terms and conditions and pension. Workers who go on strike over their pensions are not being greedy.
"They are entitled to it, they've paid into it over the years, and once you retire you lose your ability to negotiate any further."
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 June 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.