Ford and Spanish trades unions have signed a new collective labour agreement for the US auto maker's 7,600-worker factory in Almussafes, a Ford spokesman told just-auto.

Under the new wage deal, workers will receive a 0.5% annual salary increase over the inflation rate.

The four-year accord also includes a plan to rejuvenate Ford's workforce by giving 600 young employees, who have been at the firm for over six years, fixed contracts. Workers over 60 years old who wish to retire will be offered pre-retirement benefits.

Ford did not reveal the cost of the new plan but Almussafes factory chief Antonio Ades said the company is making every effort to ensure it does not undermine profitability.

Separately, Ford will add an additional diesel engine option to its Focus model line to meet soaring demand for diesel cars in Spain.

Ford makes the Focus for markets world-wide at Almussafes, outside Valencia on Spain's east coast.

The new 115hp engine supplements the 90hp and 136hp engines already available for the Focus in Spain. The factory will soon start installing it in production cars.

Ford has been pressured to add additional diesel Focus models due to strong sales of the Renault Megane II, which offers a wider range of diesel engines than its Ford rival.

Ivan Castano