Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8735
Visteon pensioners protest
About 300 Visteon pensioners from Swansea, Basildon & Enfield along with supporting trade unionists protested today outside the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff. It was staged a day before a Unite delegation of pensioners and a national officer meet Ford executives in New York.
Socialist Party Wales
On March 31st last year (years after it was spun-off by Ford Motor Company), Visteon UK went into administration.
As a result, 600 workers were sacked on the spot with only statutory redundancy - about £9,000 maximum. However, an incredible campaign of occupations and 24/7 picketing forced Ford to intervene and far superior pay-outs were won. But as one battle ended another opened up because the pension scheme was in deficit and was put into assessment for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
This would mean that for most pensioners, they would suffer a 10% reduction, some far higher. In addition, because the PPF is not guaranteed by the Government and is already £1 billion in deficit, they could suffer far greater losses in future.
Even though Swansea was bought by Linamar in 2008, all its pensioners' past pensionable service prior to the takeover were in the Visteon pension fund.
The pensioners have since got organised with fellow members in Belfast. This protest marks a new stage in the campaign. Welsh Assembly Members from Labour, Liberals and Plaid Cymru were present. Also, Swansea and Cardiff Trades Councils were there alongside Ross Saunders representing 'Youth Fight for Jobs'.
The real impact of going into the PPF has become painfully clear.
Pensions are being reduced, with the 'over-payment' since April having to be paid on top.
Ex-Swansea Plant health & safety steward Frank Connor told the press that he is losing a quarter of his pension at the moment - £200 per month.
Rob Williams reinstated Convenor at the Linamar (ex-Visteon) Swansea Plant and SP member highlighted Ford's hypocrisy - "Ford created Visteon in 2000 and now say its got nothing to do with them.
"Why would we transfer our pension over unless they guaranteed our pensions.
Ford should pay up and give our pensioners the pension they were promised and deserve. Unite should start legal action immediately if Ford don't agree to pay up."
Pay up Ford Visteon pensioners leaflet PDF