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Penske workers vote to strike over shift pay at Southampton's Ford factory
STRIKE action has been demanded by more than 90 contract workers at the giant Southampton Ford plant.
A furious pay row has broke out at Penske Logistics which works on site at the Swaythling operation.
The new dispute comes just months after the motor giant slashed half its 1,000-strong workforce which sent shockwaves through the contract and supply chains.
Now they face further misery as management has axed additional payments for shift work and wants to put off pay negotiations from September this year to January next year.
Unite union boss Ian Woodland said: “This is a slap in the face to a workforce that has been very loyal.
“Workers have always relied on shift payments and cut their cloth accordingly, now they face getting into increasing levels of debt and the company just says it hasn’t budgeted for shift payments and that’s it.
“I have never seen a workforce vote so overwhelmingly in favour of a strike and I know this decision wouldn’t have been taken lightly which shows how strongly people feel about the way they have been treated.”
Of the 69 ballot papers returned 66 voted for an all-out strike while a further two wanted industrial action short of downing tools.
Unions will be holding talks with management bosses this week and are planning a mass meeting with workers.
The Daily Echo understands that if no solution is found workers may walkout within the next two weeks ahead of the plant summer shutdown.
A worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are completely dissatisfied with the way we have been treated and what essentially means a pay cut that we feel a strike is the only course of action we could take that they might listen to.”
Another said: “We have just been banging our head against a wall for so long we felt we needed to do something. Morale has never been so low.
“We feel we have bent over backwards to help the company and they have just thrown it back at us.”
Penske, which now employs 126 people, has already had two rounds of redundancies in which dozens of people have lost their jobs.
The company was unavailable to comment.