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Visteon workers braced for attacks
WORKERS AT Visteon, Ford's component supplier, are bracing themselves for the next stage in the company's attacks on their jobs, pay, conditions and pensions.
A Visteon worker
National talks with the company have been adjourned since the unions insisted that any concessions in the four UK plants would have to be on condition that pay and the final salary pension would remain intact. This would ensure that the contract that Visteon's ex-Ford workers are on remains 'mirrored' to that of the 'blue oval' [Ford].
But Visteon view these pay and pensions as 'excessive', hence an adjournment that has lasted almost three months. Visteon workers are now waiting for the next announcement from the US which could lead to plant closures in the UK and the rest of Western Europe and/or moves to attack the final salary pension scheme.
Since Visteon moved its chassis/powertrain plants in the US back into Ford control last year, the UK counterpart plants in Swansea and Belfast appear to be particularly vulnerable.
Visteon has declared they are facing a "difficult business situation" at their Swansea plant, where 700 people work. The company says they cannot guarantee work after the existing contracts run out in 2008.
At local and national level, the unions have made it clear to Ford and Visteon that any attempt to close a UK plant will trigger a national dispute. Support for resistance must be built from the shop-floor up.
In The Socialist 19 January 2006: