Workers in a plant of car parts manufacturer Visteon located in Einfield have occupied and locked themselves in the factory after they were fired without wages due and redundancy pay. Sadly, their struggle was caught up in all the media frenzy surrounding the G20 meeting and so far, received little attention. This is the statement they released to the media.
Ford Visteon workers have occupied the Ponders End factory since Wednesday 1st April. The previous day in a meeting lasting just 6 minutes we were told that the European company, with plants in Belfast, Basildon and Ponders End, Enfield, was going into administration and that we were to leave – without our wages being paid. Personal possessions could be collected the next day, but at 10 o’clock the factory was locked closed. Workers had already occupied the Belfast factory.
The 200 workers who are part of the Ford subsidiary want the same conditions they have always had via «mirror contracts» with the parent company. Up to now they don’t know when they will get wages due, and their pensions are to be controlled by the government Pensions Protection Fund. This means a maximum of £9,000 a year and much reduced conditions! Some of the women and men have 40 years service!
The whole situation has been created for news management – announce it during the G20 and it will get buried in the media. And this is largely what’s happened. The move is to save Visteon USA money at the workers expense.
Unexpectedly Unite union members have taken determined action that bosses thought they had eliminated years ago.
The workers want their existing terms respected. Ford Visteon can’t be allowed to avoid their responsibility. So far they have tried legal intimidation but have even managed to mess this up.
As well as proper redundancy payments, some are suggesting that the skills of the workers who can make anything in plastic, should be used to make increasingly needed parts for green products – bike and trailer parts, solar panels, turbines, etc. Government investment in this rather than throwing money away to bankers could be profitable and save jobs in the long term.
Ford Visteon workers have been pleased at the support received from other Ford plants as well, such as Southampton, who are blacking Visteon products. Come to the factory in Morson Road, near Ponders End train station, to show your support. Join a support protest on Saturday 4th April 10am-11am.
Get your Union branch to pass a resolution in support, and help raise money by workplace collections.
This is a fight we can win. We’re off our knees and fighting fit!
*- Some Ford Visteon workers and supporters (from inside the occupied factory)*