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The Auto Channel

LONDON, January 28 -- Amicus and the T&G trade unions have today launched a legal challenge to the decision by Ford to withdraw its' free ferry service which transfers 300 workers to and from the Dagenham plant.

The unions are seeking an injunction to stop Ford cancelling the service which transports Ford workers between North Kent and the Dagenham site.

Amicus and the T&G argue that the service, which has been provided by the company since the 1950s, is a contractual term and that its' cancellation will make it impossible for many Kent based Ford Dagenham workers to get to work.

Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Amicus, said:

"Many of our members are shift workers who depend entirely on the ferry service to get to work and its' withdrawal would add two to four hours journey time for many more.

"We will do whatever we can to protect the ability of our members to do their jobs and their terms and conditions."

Tony Woodley, T&G General Secretary said:

"Every day around 300 people depend on the ferry to get to work. Its removal would make their journey extremely difficult and we would find any unilateral withdrawal of the service unacceptable."

The only alternative travel options for workers who can drive from Kent would be the Dartford Tunnel, the Blackwall Tunnel or the Woolwich ferry. For those workers who live in north Kent and don't drive, the public transport links are extremely poor. Their journeys would require travel by train, tube and bus which would be impossible when working certain shift patterns.

Ford has said they will end the service on 30 January 2004.

Ford has previously used the free ferry service in recruitment advertising for the Ford Dagenham site.
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