Victory to the Visteon workers!

Support the Visteon occupations in Belfast, Enfield

 

NEWSFLASH: Visteon Enfield workers have now occupied their plant with demonstrations outside the company’s Basildon plant.

On Tuesday morning workers occupied the Belfast Visteon car parts plant after they were told it would close with two hundred employees to lose their jobs on the spot.

Davy McMurray, regional organiser for Unite, speaking to the BBC slammed the “brutal” way the workers were sacked: “The administrators just came in, told them they were in administration and their employment was terminated. These people are going to be put out on the street tonight.” Instead at least one hundred workers are sleeping in their factory to fight redundancy terms – the workers are being given nothing but the minimal state compensation.

Unite convenor John Maguire said the workers at the plant had “been treated disgracefully”: “We have been left with no choice but to occupy the factory to save our jobs and to defend jobs for the people of Belfast.” Absolutely right.

Overall 565 jobs are to go at Visteon’s three plants in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield. KPMG claims that the Visteon UK factories have not been profitable since they were sold off by Ford in 2000, reportedly racking up losses of £669 million. In addition the recession has sparked a car industry crisis across the globe.

Ford hived Visteon off to cut costs but remains the sole customer of these plants. So far it has washed its hands despite promises that Visteon workers would maintain the same redundancy rights as Ford employees.

Northern Ireland parties Sinn Fein and the SDLP have declared their support for the workers and so far little more, while the Labour government is silent, refusing calls to bailout the car industry as it has done the bankers. It will be up to the workers movement to provide support and build a fighting response to the economic crisis.

Visteon workers need massive solidarity to bolster their determination and demands – it is absolutely right to expose the injustice of companies that rake in the profits in good times and then force workers to pay with cuts and closures, while the state picks up the bill with miserly public compensation and welfare schemes.

Dedent redundancy pay is certainly the minimum the workers should hold out for – but they deserve more. Our unions need to start demanding jobs or, if the company cannot afford them, nationalisation. In the current context of cutbacks and workers’ anger at bank bailouts while we lose our jobs and homes, a militant stand at Visteon could spark a wider movement of strikes and occupations to halt the jobs massacre.

Messages of support and solidarity to John Maguire Belfast Unite Convenor – 07816590380

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