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Visteon workers occupy Belfast factory
Visteon workers in Belfast have started an occupation of the former Ford car parts factory. Administrators KPMG have only offered the 200-plus workers paltry statutory redundancy payments.
John Maguire, Unite convenor spoke to The Socialist from the occupation:
"We're occupying the factory because the Ford motor company and Visteon Corporation have colluded together to put this plant into administration. Any other time the Ford Motor Company shut a plant they give people proper redundancy packages but they've left the Irish plant high and dry.
"Also the Visteon management have formed a new company to put their pensions into so they are protected.
"There are about 140 people occupying at the moment and there will be more coming tonight. The whole factory will be here, we have full support. Some people have worked here for 30 years.
"We also plan to go down and picket Ford showrooms tomorrow, 1 April.
"We want to fight to keep the plant open but if we can't, at least we want to be treated the same as everybody else affected by Ford closures."
The brutal side of capitalism
IF THE company get away with this, over 600 workers in ex-Ford factories in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon will be sacked and left to claim statutory redundancy payments from the state. Even workers with over 30 years service will only get about £9,000 and most workers a lot less.
Their pensions plus those of ex-Visteon workers in Swansea and retirees will go into the Pension Protection Fund, which will result in reduced payments. This is the brutal side of capitalism - no bailouts or bonuses like the bankrupt fat cats but bare minimum pay outs and the dole for workers.
Visteon UK executives are now employed by their own 'Visteon Engineering Services'. A life raft for rats escaping the sinking ship!
Visteon was spun-off by Ford in 2000 as a device to slash costs at the expense of the workforce. Two and then three-tier contracts then followed as well as outsourcing of 'indirect' jobs. However, for Visteon bosses this wasn't enough. They've spent the last 3 or more years demanding that Visteon workers break their Ford 'mirrored' contracts.
Visteon workers were correct to resist and won better deals by doing so. It was that successful battle that has given the Belfast workers the confidence to resist now.
These workers want to put pressure on Ford to intervene to stop the sackings. They are appealing to the unions in Ford to support them by not using parts shipped in to replace those from Belfast.
If that fails, the occupation can be built to involve the trade union movement and working-class community to force the government to intervene to nationalise Visteon to save these jobs.
In The Socialist 1 April 2009:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis