The United Auto Workers (UAW) union last night confirmed Ford worker members had voted down proposed contract modifications.

A statement issued by UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and vice president Bob King said 70% of the membership in production and 75% in skilled trades voted to reject the agreement which would have modified the current master agreement with the automaker that took effect in 2007.

"The ratification process proves once again that the membership is the highest authority in our union and we are respectful of the final outcome," the two union chiefs said.

"While we will not be returning to the bargaining table, [we] will continue to work with Ford on a daily basis in an effort to keep new products coming into our plants. We will also continue to work with Ford to insure they maintain the highest ratings in quality and productivity and insure that they remain competitive."

Ford Labour chief Joe Hinrichs said in a statement: "Ford is disappointed that the additional changes were not ratified.

"In March, the UAW-Ford membership ratified changes to the 2007 UAW-Ford national labour agreement and the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association health care trust that went most of the way in moving Ford to competitive parity with foreign-owned automakers.

"The additional modifications we sought recently were designed to honour pattern bargaining and provide Ford with similar additional efficiencies as those ratified this year for our domestic competitors."

"Moving forward, we will work with the UAW to discuss the next steps to ensure Ford remains competitive so we can continue to make product commitments and invest in our manufacturing facilities here in the United States."