Ford brings back merit raises
Automaker tells employees increases will resume if conditions don't get any worse.
By Mark Truby / The Detroit News
DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. told its 42,500-person white-collar work force this week that it will hand out merit pay increases on July 1 providing that business conditions remain stable.
The bit of good news came in welcome contrast to Ford's announcement that it was shifting more health care costs to salaried employees and retirees beginning this summer.
Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said the company "made enough financial progress in 2002 to reward our employees with merit pay increases."
The automaker gave merit increases to salaried workers last year, but delayed the pay hikes for a month to save money. Also, Ford's 2,200 top-ranking managers were not eligible for pay raises last year.
Ford, which lost $980 million last year and $5.45 billion in 2001, is in the midst of an intensive cost cutting effort. The company is aiming to return to solid profitability by mid-decade.
In a note to employees, Ford North American head Jim Padilla said the company will continue to suspend the company match on 401(k) savings plans.
This year, all salaried workers will be eligible for raises except about 50 company officers at vice-president level or higher.
Ford's lower-level white-collar employees also will be eligible for modest performance bonuses, which will be paid March 14.
General Motors Corp. plans also plans to give merit increases to white collar employees this summer. Like Ford, GM delayed the raises last year to save money. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler group has not made a decision regarding merit increases for this year, spokeswoman Debra Nelson said.
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My next Ford.....