Doctors and health care leaders today announced a new development in the options for future hospital services in mid and south Essex.
Dagenham: Ford Workers Set For Strike Ballot
Hundreds of workers at the Ford factory in Dagenham are to be balloted for strikes following a decision to close their plant.
Unite said more than 650 of its members at the stamping and tooling site will vote in coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.
The dispute stems from a decision last year to end production at Ford's plant in Southampton and to close the Dagenham facility.
Unite said more than 100 toolmakers have not been found suitable jobs, while workers who are being redeployed are being given little information about what work they will be doing once they are transferred.
National officer Roger Maddison said: "Ford betrayed its workers when it announced the closure of its plants and now the company is rubbing salt into the loyal workers' wounds by treating them with contempt.
"The workers at Dagenham are furious and they are right to want to stand up to the company's despicable behaviour.
"Skilled workers with over 20 years of experience are being forced to change career but are being given no information about what they'll be doing. Many of them will have their pensions severely slashed and some workers might fail capability tests and be sacked after all.
"To make matters worse, over 100 workers have not even been found suitable work despite the company's promise to do so. Skilled workers with years of experience are being thrown on the scrapheap.
"Workers who feel they have to accept a severance package are being offered up to #30,000 less than their colleagues in Southampton. Whether the workforce chooses to stay or go, it is being treated like a second class citizen. To make matters worse Ford is bullying workers with threats to withdraw the package on offer if workers take action.
"A vote for strike action will send a clear message to Ford that its betrayal can't and won't stand.''
The ballot result is due on May 1.
Residents are being urged to give their views on the Chelmsford City Growth Package.
A group of 12 men from Essex have been jailed for more than 40 years for a violent attack on a football fan.
Essex Police are carrying out a crack down on knife crime this week.
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