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Jaguar workers plan strike over job cuts

Mon 20 September, 2004

LONDON (Reuters) - Workers at Ford's main Jaguar assembly plant have agreed to take a ballot on possible strike action over job cuts at the hard-pressed carmaker.

Staff at other Jaguar factories also voted to support any strike action by workers at the main plant and warned industrial action could spread to other Ford operations in Britain.

About 86 percent of union members at Jaguar's largest factory at Coventry voted on Monday in favour of balloting workers for strike action.

Ford said on Friday it would cut 1,150 jobs at the Coventry plant in a bid to return to profits and will shift production of its XJ sedan and XK sports car to another factory at Castle Bromwich in nearby Birmingham.

The Transport & General Workers Union and Amicus union said members at the Castle Bromwich plant and a separate Jaguar research and development centre had also voted to support any strike action.

"Members are solid in their opposition to closure and they are being backed all the way by the unions' leadership," Transport & General Workers Union general secretary Tony Woodley said in a statement.

Workers at the rest of Ford's British operations, including Land Rover, Aston Martin, Ford Blue Oval factories and other Ford research facilities, are also planning meetings to decide whether to join any strike.

Jaguar plans to keep 310 jobs to make wood finishings at the Coventry plant, move 425 staff to Castle Bromwich, and add 300 new manufacturing jobs at the Ford group's Aston Martin sports car plant.

Prior to Friday, Jaguar employed 6,700 people in Britain.

Despite sales growth and high quality levels, Jaguar has not been able to keep pace with larger rivals in the premium car sector, which now faces the kind of margin-sapping selling incentives that have bedevilled volume carmakers.




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