Workers at a Ford prototype plant at Aveley have “overwhelmingly” supported holding a ballot for industrial action opposing the company’s plans to close the site, the AMICUS union said.

The union said 76% of those balloted voted in favour of a strike ballot. Aveley, near Dartmouth, is one of the pilot plants for Ford components and provides high value engineering jobs.

The unions involved say that the planned closure is in breach of a sourcing and investment agreement signed by Ford in 2001 guaranteeing no further closures and that the company has already broken the agreement twice by closing facilities at Croydon and Boreham.

The unions say they are prepared to ask Ford’s entire workforce to support their opposition to the closure.

Ford is also facing industrial trouble at its Land Rover plant in Solihull, near Birmingham, where production line staff have been staging rolling stoppages to reinforce their demands for pay parity with counterparts at Jaguar.

Ford counters that they are well paid by industry standards and work fewer hours.