STRIKE threats loom over the Ford factory as more than 100 contract workers vote on industrial action.
A furious pay row has erupted at Penske Logistics which works on site at the giant Southampton plant.
The new dispute comes just months after Ford slashed half its 1,000-strong workforce which led to a devastating fallout with job cuts throughout the contract and supply chain.
Workers are currently voting over whether to take industrial action. If successful a mass meeting will be held to discuss what form this would take.
Unite union boss Ian Woodland said: “Workers are telling me they can’t trust a word management tells them. They have no confidence in how they are being managed and they are being treated in a heavy-handed way.
“I think there is a big morale problem.”
The row started when Penske workers were told they would be working shifts at the Swaythling operation – but there was no longer money for the shift allowances they had previously received. The contractor, which employs 126 workers at Ford, also wanted to push back other pay negotiations – due in September – to January of next year.
An insider at the company – which employs around 126 staff from its Swaythling offices – said the workers had had enough.
The worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “What can you say about the mood in the factory.
“It is at an all-time low.
Pretty bad. We are working alongside Ford workers only earning a fraction of what they get.
“They expect us to do shifts like before but just not get paid for it. It’s disgusting.”
Another said: “They are just taking, taking, taking and we are sick of doing nothing. It feels like we have been banging our heads against a brick wall and we have had enough.
“Most of the men want strike action.”
Penske US boss Randolph Ryerson told the Daily Echo: “We are in discussions with the union to secure a fair, competitive agreement that will enable us to continue providing excellent service to our customer.
“We understand our associates’ concerns and look forward to working towards a resolution.”