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Strike threat for Ford of Britain

Union members at Ford's UK factories could go on strike over proposed changes to its pension scheme.

The Unite union, which represents 2,500 staff, said it walked out of talks because Ford wants to close the final-salary scheme to new entrants.

The union fears the move will lead to the ultimate closure of the pension scheme.

Ford UK noted that some 80% of private sector firms had closed their final-salary schemes to new hires.

"The company has sought to discuss with the Union the financial challenges of its defined benefit pension funds, which are significantly in deficit, as this is now established competitive practice," Ford told the BBC.

"The company has categorically confirmed that it has no plans to close its pension funds to existing members and that the funds remain open to existing members."

Talks had been scheduled to take place over three days, on 8-10 November, according to Ford, following the expiry of a previous three-year pay deal agreed in 2008.

Ford has engine factories at Dagenham and Bridgend, a van assembly plant in Southampton, plus a joint venture transmission plant in Halewood and a parts distribution and customer contact centre in Daventry.

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