LONDON (Reuters) -- Workers at Ford Motor Co's British luxury brand Jaguar will start voting next week on whether to strike over plans to end car production at its main plant and cut 1,150 jobs, a union said on Wednesday.
Members of the Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' (T&G) unions at Jaguar's Browns Lane plant in Coventry begin voting on Monday in a ballot on industrial action that runs until Dec. 13, T&G said.
The vote will follow a march through Coventry on Saturday that labor leaders are staging to protest against Ford's cost cuts announced in September.
"We call on not just Jaguar workers but also the wider community of Coventry and the West Midlands to stand together and fight this unjust closure," T&G General Secretary Tony Woodley said in a statement.
"If Ford are allowed to get away with shutting Browns Lane we have real concerns about the future of hundreds of other jobs, and about future jobs for our kids and the community."
Jaguar management and unions are scheduled to meet on Dec. 3 to discuss the measures, which have drawn attention from senior government officials.
Ford has insisted the steps are needed to stem chronic losses at Jaguar. Jaguar Chief Executive Joe Greenwell said last week the brand would lose hundreds of millions of pounds this year and not break even until 2007 despite the job cuts.
"We sincerely hope that strike action will not be the case. This will not be in the interests of Jaguar, its employees or our customers. Strike action will only make the business recovery more difficult," a Jaguar statement said.
It stressed that Browns Lane staff who wish to stay with Jaguar will be able to do so and those who leave voluntarily will get generous severance terms. Staff who transfer to other plants will also get company support, it added.
Jaguar is shifting car production from Browns Lane in central England to another factory near Birmingham.
Ford bought Jaguar in 1989 for 1.6 billion pounds ($2.97 billion). Despite sales growth in Europe and high quality levels, Jaguar has been unable to keep pace with larger rivals in the premium car sector amid a slump in U.S. car sales.