Visteon workers fight back
WORKERS, MAY 2009 ISSUE
Back in 2000 the Ford motor company created a subsidiary company, Visteon, at three of its sites in Britain and Ireland which made car parts – Belfast, Basildon and Enfield. For the past seven or eight years staff numbers at all the sites have been reduced.
When the name was changed the workers were given a European works council guarantee that pay and conditions would be protected, indeed “mirrored” in the new company. Visteon has now declared itself bankrupt and all promises are off, leaving workers without a job, pension or redundancy pay.
Workers were given a few minutes warning of the closure at each site. In Belfast the workers simply never the left the canteen and the occupation is continuing, demanding the right to work. In Enfield shocked workers went home and then returned the next day and occupied for three weeks.
The demand at Enfield has been for redundancy pay and pension rather than for the right to work. A 24-hour picket is now continuing on the Enfield site as it looks as if Ford may either seek to remove machinery or bring in a new workforce at lower rates of pay. Visteon workers have already seen a Companies House document which shows that Visteon has set up a new company called Automotive Products Ltd.
Ford has now made an offer of 13 weeks’ redundancy pay, which the Unite union has described as derisory. But simply by making the offer Ford has ended the fiction that Visteon is nothing to do with it.