Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/452/5419
Visteon workers fight for their future
WORKERS IN Ford's parts business Visteon are facing rumours that the company is looking to sell. Union representatives met the European management in Germany last week to get an update on the sale of the chassis division, which includes Swansea Plant.
A Visteon worker
Chassis has long ceased to be considered as 'core' business by the company, particularly since plants making these products were taken back under Ford control last year. Therefore, for many workers, there's a sense of being between the devil and the deep blue sea - staying with Visteon with no appetite or even a set-up to properly resource and invest in the chassis plants or a new owner who would likely want to 'restructure' the plants, ie. close unprofitable plants or try to establish worse terms and conditions.
What is clear, the strategy of 'concession bargaining' - agreeing to cuts in terms and conditions in the hope that they will save plants - would have got Visteon workers nowhere over the last 12 months. Visteon UK plants have resisted attempts by management to break contracts. The reward for this would have been a fire sale, not long-term job security.
Visteon workers have to make it clear to all existing and potential owners - terms and conditions are not for sale. The spin-off agreement signed when Visteon separated from Ford in 2000 enshrines the right of workers to maintain their contracts even if sold off. This has to be maintained.
Visteon workers have shown management that they are prepared to fight to defend their jobs and their contracts. They also know that agreements and employment law, which is in their favour, has to be backed by their industrial strength with an appeal for support from Ford workers.
The car companies have declared war on their workers the world over. From striking VW workers in Mexico to the heroic rank and file Soldiers of Solidarity in Delphi in the US. The car industry continuing in the hands of capitalism is a disaster for car workers and the environment. The idea of a socialist planned and integrated transport industry and system can find an echo as ever more car workers struggle for a long-term future for themselves and their families.
In The Socialist 24 August 2006:
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