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Ford begins to move on diversity policy

April 2000

A harassment hotline has been set up to serve all Ford factories and offices in the UK.

The move follows an equal opportunities agreement with unions sparked by allegations of persistent racist bullying at Ford’s Dagenham plant.

The motor giant is also close to publishing a new guide on harassment for all UK employees and has appointed a diversity manager for Europe, Alan Holley.

External recruitment consultants have been engaged to search for a national diversity manager for the UK, and an appointment is expected within the next couple of months.

A Ford spokesman said a diversity steering group consisting of union and company representatives had met on five occasions since the company agreed to review its equal opportunities policies last October, and should be ‘completing its task in the next few weeks’.

The steering group was given the job of outlining a framework for a diversity and equality assessment review which, among other things, will cover communication and corporate image, corporate citizenship and equality auditing.

It will also outline ground rules for a joint national equal opportunities and diversity committee with union input, with similar committees in each Ford plant throughout Britain.

The steering group’s deliberations will be made public once they have been shown to union leaders and Nick Scheele, president of Ford Europe.

Ford was criticised last year for apparently failing to take action over race relations problems at Dagenham which the unions say they brought to the attention of managers as far back as 1997.




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