ANGRY contractors at Ford’s doomed Southampton plant are furious at being offered just a fraction of the payout colleagues are in line for from the motor giant.
More than 200 sub-contractors at the Swaythling Transit factory have been told they are not entitled to the generous redundancy payments Ford’s 500 staff are getting when the facility is closed next summer.
Hampshire MPs have called on the USA-based firm to act fairly to do the right thing by loyal workers, many of whom have spent more than a decade at the Wide Lane plant.
Contractors employed through Penske Logistics told the Daily Echo they feel “insulted” at being “discriminated against”, after being told Ford will not be paying them a penny when it shuts the factory and shifts production to Turkey.
Instead, they are being offered six weeks’ pay on top of their statutory redundancy sum by their company, provided there is no disruption to production from industrial action and they miss no more than four days between December and the end of July.
As reported, Ford employees could be eligible for a voluntary redundancy package equivalent to virtually two years’ salary.
Examples of pay-offs seen by the Daily Echo range from £64,000 to £93,000 depending on age and length of service, and not including enhanced pensions.
One Penske worker, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful.
“All we’ve heard about is that we’re ‘One Southampton’ and that we’re all in it together, but it’s one rule for them and one rule for us.
“We’re being discriminated against. We’re fed up with being treated like something on the bottom of your shoe.”
Another contractor, who also wanted to remain anonymous, added: “It’s taken four weeks since the announcement for them to tell us what we’re getting. The Ford guys knew within three days.
“We’ve given out time and effort for years and it’s for nothing. I’ve got to keep a roof over my head – where’s the money going to come from?”
Southampton Itchen MP John Denham and fellow Hampshire MPs Chris Huhne, Alan Whitehead and Caroline Nokes have jointly written to Ford’s UK boss to demand he acts on his pledge to support subcontractors.
Mr Denham said: “This is clearly an offer that falls well short of what’s on the table for Ford employees.
“I’ve always made it clear that I thought Ford should make sure that people who have worked loyally for their supply companies should be equally well treated.”
Eastleigh MP Mr Huhne added: “There is some obligation on the part of Ford. It’s not so easy to wash their hands of these people because they’ve had long-term relationships with these companies.”
But a Ford spokesman said last night it would be wrong for the company to get involved in the negotiations other firms are having with their workers.
He said: “At the moment we’re fully concentrated on discussions with our own employees with regards to this restructuring, and other businesses’ employees aren’t part of those discussions.”