Trade Unions at Ford

In the past, trade unions at Ford were very powerful and militant, and small disagreements could bring production to a halt with strikes and stoppages. Sometimes the industrial action brought better pay and working conditions for the workforce. Relations between the management and unions improved over the years with more co-operation and dialogue.


Long-serving employees remembered the long strikes and frequent walk-outs of the 1970s. Mass meetings in the car park and line stoppages were common.

Russ M

As a Ford employee you tend to be put into a box of someone who’s quite militant and always going out on strike. Back in, definitely back in the ‘80s if you were to say…

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In the 1970s manufacturing industries across the country had strict rules on 'demarcation'. Workers could only carry out tasks of their own trade.

Steve B

A lot of things have changed because when I first started here there were definite demarcations what they call it. An electrician would only do an electrician’s work, a plumber would only do a plumber’s…

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When contractors on lower wages were first brought in to cut costs, they faced resentment from Ford workers who feared for their jobs.

Debbie B

So they was all Ford employees when I initially came in the year 2000. And part of us trying to be a viable plant was obviously trying to make us cost-effective compared to our counterparts…

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Industrial action and negotiations led by the strong unions brought good pay deals and improved working conditions for the workforce.

Russ M

Back in the ‘70s, a lot of companies and industries looked at Ford to see what the reaction of the Ford workforce was as far as pay rises and that kind of thing. I think…

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