Socialist Worker

Visteon car workers in Belfast occupy against cuts

by Simon Basketter
Published Tue 31 Mar 2009
Issue No. 2145

Some 200 workers have occupied the Visteon car parts plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, against job cuts.

The workers went into occupation on Tuesday after the bosses summarily announced the closure of the plant with the loss of all jobs.

Davy MacMurray, from the Unite union, said the way the job cuts were announced was 'brutal'. He said, 'The administrator came in, held a meeting and told the workforce their employment was terminated. These people were going to be put out on the street tonight.'

Visteon took over the plant from Ford in 2000. All the parts the plant makes were for Ford.

One occupying worker told Socialist Worker, 'Ford have a commitment and agreement with the unions that there would never be compulsory redundancies. At the very least we should get the same redundancy package as Ford workers.'

In the early evening the 200-strong workforce was holding protests both inside and outside the plant. Supporters were bringing supplies and sleeping bags. The furious workers are fighting to be treated with decency by the company and the administrators. They are planning protests tomorrow at Ford dealerships across the city.

Jon Macquire the Unite union convenor at the plant, spoke to Socialist Worker from the occupation. 'Ford and Visteon have manipulated this situation together,' he said.

'We have been treated disgracefully. We are occupying the factory to save our jobs. There was no consultation whatsoever – they simply announced the closure.

'They have put the pension scheme into administration. To make it clear – we are in for the long haul and are committed to get proper redundancy packages and pensions.

'We are determined to continue our occupation and we appeal on workers throughout Ireland, Britain and internationally to support our fight to defend jobs.'

Visteon has also announced the closure of is plants in Basildon and Enfield – threatening another 400 jobs.

Messages of support to dmcmurray@unitetheunion.com

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