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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 March 2007

Visteon victory for shop floor

THE SHOP stewards' committee in Visteon's Swansea plant have resisted the company's plans to stop brake disc production in the factory. Visteon, which makes vehicle parts, was 'spun off' from Ford in 2000.

Visteon worker

Agreeing to the company's plans would have meant the union signing up to the company's strategy to reduce the hourly-paid headcount to about 300 from the 380 permanents and over 70 temporary workers now.

Management need 40 more workers to add another shift to the all-wheel drive products in-plant but wanted to run down the disc production to 'free up' the labour. The union believed Ford was complicit in this strategy to run the plant down.

But the union held the line, so Visteon have been forced to employ another 40 permanent people. This is a clear step forward for the workers in Swansea. Undoubtedly, the shopfloor has gained a lot of confidence from the struggle to retain their terms and conditions at the end of last year.

However, more battles are on the horizon. Visteon workers throughout Britain will be confronted by attempts to attack their pensions over the next few months. Workers in Swansea still face huge uncertainty.

The company only sees a future for the plant if it is sold. The Swansea workforce, however, want commitments about keeping present terms and conditions whoever owns the plant and on future products.

After the last six months, Visteon UK workers have shown Visteon and Ford that they are prepared to fight for their futures.

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