Left Luggage

The socialist strategy site

Latest on the factory occupations

Posted by Left Luggage on April 7, 2009

Workers at Visteon factories in Enfield, North London, and in Belfast, continue to occupy their workplaces to try to secure a proper redundancy package from the company. Meanwhile, workers at the plant in Basildon are continuing a picket outside the gates. This brilliant mini-documentary features interviews with workers in the Enfield factory:

There is a demonstration planned at Visteon in Enfield on Thursday, April 9, at 11am. Workers have been ordered by a court to leave the building by midday on Thursday. Some background information on the dispute, along with details of events and how you can support the workers in Enfield follows. It was sent to members of their Facebook group.

Background

At 2pm on Tuesday, March 31, 565 workers at three sites of Visteon (Unite members), a car component manufacturer tied to Ford, were given six minutes’ notice that the company had gone into administration and they had to leave, without wages or compensation. The same night, Belfast Visteon workers occupied their factory demanding jobs or proper compensation. And the next morning, April 1, Enfield workers waiting to collect their belongings decided to seize the moment and take over their factory too. A side door was either found open or broken down, and the occupation begun.

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, which means a maximum of £9,000 payout, and much reduced conditions. Some of the women and men have forty years service. Ford are trying to evade responsibility for the workers at the subsidiary and are using the cover of the recession as an excuse to change terms and conditions and to run down the company.

The occupation has wider implications. As the recession worsens and more jobs are put on the line, the Visteon workers’ example of inspirational solidarity and courage will be an example to many others facing the same situation. Bosses will also be looking to the dispute and learning that they will not get away with treating their workers this way.

How you can support the Visteon workers

  • Visit the factory and demonstrate your support and keep morale high. People are welcome at any time, 12 noon is a good time to go.
  • Do a collection at work and hand out Visteon Support leaflets.
  • Hand out Visteon Support leaflets at Ford dealers which represent the public face of the company.
  • Watch the YouTube video featuring interviews with workers inside the plant and show it to your workmates:
  • Send messages of support to visteonoccupation@gmail.com
  • Join the Visteon Support mailing list visteon_support@haringey.org.uk
  • There’s also a useful blog with information about the occupation at: www.visteonoccupation.org

Events this week:

  • Wednesday, April 8, midday: Family day at the Enfield factory. Show your support to the workers and their family.Factory address: Morson Road. Five minutes’ walk from Ponders End train station, Enfield.
  • Thursday, April 9, 11am: Rally at the Enfield plant. Factory address: Morson Road. Five minutes’ walk from Ponders End train station, Enfield.
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