Visteon workers’ victory
Posted by Left Luggage on May 4, 2009
Workers at Visteon factories in Enfield, Belfast and Basildon have won a major victory after forcing the company to offer redundancy payouts. The deal comes over a month since the 610 workers at the three plants were sacked with no notice, and told they would receive no redundancy pay or pensions. In response, they occupied the factories, mounted 24-hour pickets and protests across the country at Ford showrooms. The motor parts company was formerly owned by Ford but was “spun-out” in 2000, when workers were told they would retain the same terms and conditions. On the deal negotiated by Unite, which was accepted by the Basildon and Enfield workers on Friday and Belfast workers yesterday, the Morning Star is reporting:
Visteon, despite claiming that its British subsidiary had gone bankrupt, was now prepared to pay out an “enhanced redundancy package” that includes “special payments” of 52 weeks’ pay backdated to last November, which could be worth up to £50,000 for some of the longer-serving staff.
The offer also includes all the cash that the workers were owed for the redundancy notice that they were never given and, although the question of pensions remains unresolved, workers at all the Visteon plants were in no doubt that they had won a huge victory.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that this deal goes beyond the redundancy terms offered by Ford and will see the workers given preferential treatment if they apply for jobs at Ford’s UK plants.
Unite said a renewed deal, which goes beyond the Ford redundancy terms, had been accepted unanimously by the union’s convenors and shop stewards. The proposed settlement deal will see a considerable lift in the redundancy package offered to workers with long service and who previously worked for Ford.
Some 510 out of the 610-strong workforce are former Ford employees. Workers with shorter service can expect to receive 10 times what they would have received in statutory redundancy pay. Ford has also agreed to give preferential treatment to former Visteon workers who apply for work at Ford’s UK plants in the future.
There is some reaction from Visteon workers to the deal at the Socialist Worker website. The workers have said they will maintain the Belfast occupation and the pickets in Enfield and Basildon until the redundancy agreements are signed, sealed and the cash delivered to workers’ bank accounts.