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Conned by John Lewis
Unite convenor Rob Williams makes the point that the Visteon workers' struggle is important for all workers. This is clearly shown by the example of ex-John Lewis partnership workers who have just been made redundant on minimal terms, by the company which took them over two years ago. Alan McDermott, one of the workers from the plant in Carlisle told The Socialist:
"Our textiles and dyeing firm, Stead McAlpin, was sold by the John Lewis Partnership in September 2007 to a newly set up company called Apex textiles. We were told by John Lewis managing director Andy Street, that all John Lewis benefits, including enhanced redundancy payments would be honoured by Apex for two years from the date of the sale.
But on 1 April, we endured the sickest April fool of all. We were asked to the works dining room, split into two groups and told that over 60 of us were redundant. We were given a form to fill in and send off to claim statutory redundancy.
We had 15 minutes to empty our lockers. After over 25 years service, all that many of us had was a carrier bag, some boots and a paper to post off, along with friends we had worked with all our lives.
We are in the unenviable position of facing the loss of our homes.
We are planning a protest on 8 April. A 24-hour vigil at the gates of Stead McAlpin in Carlisle, where our families will also support us.
We are also planning a walk from the plant in Carlisle to John Lewis head office in London to register our disgust at their failure to help us, after being part of John Lewis since 1965. Let's face it we have nothing else to do!
We were conned by John Lewis."