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<nettime> Occupation at Ford/Visteon in England
Benedict Seymour on Thu, 9 Apr 2009 06:07:50 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Occupation at Ford/Visteon in England


Hi all

Hope this will be of interest to some of you.

Workers at 3 UK car parts plants are fighting back against brutal lay 
offs in a way which may hopefully inspire opposition across the UK and 
beyond.

The media has largely ignored the occupation of the factory in north 
London to concentrate on the G20 protests. Unsurprising, but 
nevertheless these workers deserve the attention and assistance of the 
world.

They are showing that it is possible to collectively resist peremptory 
sackings and to asset basic rights in the face of the lie that 'we all 
have to take a little pain for the system to get better'.

If they win a better deal it will underline the importance and viability 
of fighting back for workers in general. They have already forced the 
employers to negotiate and that is something they would never have 
achieved without getting together and occupying the factory.

With massive attacks on workers already in the offing globally and huge 
waves of redundancies planned in the US, UK and beyond, the outcome of 
this struggle will have ramifications for workers everywhere.

It would be great if you could spread this far and wide and do whatever 
you can in support. There is a demo tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 11am 
outside the Enfield factory in support of the workers. Details here:

Thanks,

Ben


Enfield - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsADugY9mao 
Enfield & Basildon -  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUXFyoLgmRE&feature=related
Belfast - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSExEO6utZ0&feature=related

[This statement is being sent out to workers at Ford plants...]
*
Visteon workersâ occupation needs your solidarity to win*

FORD Visteon car parts workers in Enfield, North London, have occupied 
our factory since Wednesday 1 April. The Belfast site is also in occupation.

On Tuesday 31 March, in a meeting lasting just six minutes, we were told 
that the company was going into administration and that we were to leave 
without our wages being paid.

We demand justice and we need the support of Ford workers to win.

Until 2000 Visteon workers were part of Ford, and when the new company 
was formed we were told that we would have full Ford contracts. 
Documents given to staff at the time of the split told them they would 
not lose out. To the question, âHow long are our pay and conditions 
guaranteed?â, the company answered: âFor the duration of your employment 
with Visteon UK, your terms and conditions . . . will mirror Ford 
conditions. This means lifetime protection while an employee of Visteon 
UK of all your contractual conditions of employment.â

All that has now been ripped up as we have been dumped without company 
redundancy pay, the chance of transfer, pensions, or consultation.

Other internal documents revealed in the Sunday Times show Visteon UKâs 
management was preparing for the closure of the Belfast plant as early 
as January 2007. A report entitled Project Protea discusses the 
development of âduplicate sources for all the Belfast product lines by 
the end of 2007â. Managers involved aimed to âminimise information leaks 
by creating isolated project teamsâ.

The occupation has faced a series of legal threats but has remained solid.

But we want to keep up the momentum and win. A victory could spark 
resistance much more widely against the jobs massacre. On the other 
hand, if Visteon bosses get away with their attacks then other Ford 
workersâ contracts could also be ripped up.

All Visteon products should be blacked now. And the unions must give 
such action their full support. Some plants have already begun to 
discuss this. Please join them. And the unions should be discussing how 
to organise other action, such as solidarity meetings in work time, to 
help Visteon win. Please come to the factory in Morson Road, Enfield, at 
any time to show us your support.

Together we can win!

Show your support - action needed now

* Black all Visteon products. No worker should be using any Visteon 
produce at a time when its bosses are denying workers basic rights.
* The unions should be discussing now how to raise the level of support 
for Visteon. Can there be solidarity meetings during work time, walkouts 
etc?
* Email messages of support to visteonoccupation {AT} gmail.com

 From the Guardian:

Ford has 'moral obligation' to Visteon workers, union says
Former workers still occupying Visteon's Enfield plant in protest at 
their sudden sacking on Tuesday
Kathryn Hopkins
guardian.co.uk,     Friday 3 April 2009 17.37 BST
Article history
Union officials met Ford bosses today in a desperate attempt to secure a 
redundancy package for the sacked Visteon workers as rooftop protests 
continued at Visteon plants for the third day in a row.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, met Ford's European 
chairman, John Fleming, and urged the firm to honour its "moral 
obligations" to workers at the car-parts manufacturer.

More than 560 jobs were lost at Visteon's plants in Enfield, Belfast and 
Basildon on Tuesday, with staff being given less than an hour's notice. 
Administrators from KPMG said they had "no option" but to shut the 
factories, given the amount of cash being lost from the business. But 
workers say they were given guarantees on pay and conditions when the 
company was spun out of Ford nine years ago.

"Ford have a moral obligation to these workers, who have been laid off 
with only a few minutes' notice," said Simpson.

"The unacceptable treatment of Visteon's workers will be taken up with 
the senior management at Visteon. Unite will press the case for 
compensation. We hope that Visteon will do the right thing.

"This is yet another example of our weak labour laws letting skilled 
manufacturing workers down."

Simpson will hold a meeting with officials from Visteon and Ford in 
Detroit next week to determine who is responsible for providing the 
redundancy packages.

"We just want whoever is responsible to pay up," said Brian Harris at 
Unite. "If that's Visteon, then it's Visteon. If that's Ford, then it's 
Ford."

Security at Visteon's Enfield plant in north London was increased today 
amid rumours that a court order was being prepared to have the workers 
evicted. The protestors said they had claimed squatters' rights in order 
to delay the bailiffs.

There were about 120 protesters occupying the factory today. Some 
Visteon workers have also gathered outside Ford's largest British plant, 
in Dagenham, to drum up support from workers there.

Fay Bernard, who has been at the Enfield plant for 14 years, said: "We 
just want to talk to the Ford union representative, and we need support 
from the workers there. Ford need to honour our contract."

One Ford worker at the Dagenham plant, who did not want to be 
identified, said: "The way I heard it, the workers weren't given any 
time to think about anything. As far as I know everyone here is angry."

Protests were also continuing at the Belfast and Basildon plants. 
Visteon workers in west Belfast are said to be considering legal action 
to challenge the way in which the matter was handled, including the 
management's failure to offer 90 days' notice for the 210 staff laid off 
this week.


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