Workers at the Visteon plant in Enfield, north London entered their third day of occupation today. They have occupied the site for the past two nights after being sacked on Tuesday afternoon with no notice, no redundancy package and no pay for their last week's work.
The occupation – and its support – is growing. More Visteon workers and other trade unionists have joined the protest since it began on Wednesday morning. Solidarity has come in fast. After police gave up trying to prevent food and water from being passed to the occupying workers after just a few hours, workers brought take aways, homemade soup and bags of food supplies throughout Wednesday and Thursday.
Trade unionists have brought their union banners to show their support for the workers. Others have done workplace collections of hundreds of pounds, and the London region of the CWU postal workers union voted to donate £200 on Thursday.
“If we get something out of this it will be a victory for everyone,” Ian Johnson, one of the occupying workers, told Socialist Worker. “I'd have worked here for 20 years on 10 April this year. I've got two kids and a mortgage to pay.
“But we are showing people that you don't just have to accept being shafted.”
Workers are outraged at the way their management has treated them. They say they have bent over backwards to help the company – with many having worked there for anything between 10 and 40 years – only to be tossed aside with nothing.
“There was an honourable way that the company could have done this – preparing us and giving support to people – but it didn't,” said Raymond Dixon, who had worked at the site for over 18 years. “They shouldn't just pay us what they owe us – they should pay us compensation for what they've done.”
Tina Dhanjar has worked at the site for 32 years. “I feel sorry for those who are younger and have mortgages and kids,” she told Socialist Worker. “There are no jobs for people to go to.”
Visteon used to be owned by Ford – and the workers still have Ford contracts. Their contracts guarantee no compulsory redundancies and Ford terms and conditions for life. No wonder then that a major focus of the workers' anger is Ford.
A delegation of Visteon workers visited the Ford Dagenham site on Thursday afternoon and spoke to the workers there about their treatment. Ford workers at Dagenham took away leaflets to pass around inside the plant and collection sheets.
Enfield's Visteon workers are fighting a determined battle. Kevin Nolan, the Unite union convenor at the plant, told Socialist Worker that “I will stay in here until we get some justice.”
Their example can be an inspiration to the millions of workers in Britain whose jobs, homes and pensions are coming under attack. This is a crucial battle that can shape the way that ordinary people respond to the effects of the recession, and trade unionists should urgently send messages of support and donations to the Visteon workers.
Email messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Send messages of support to email@example.com
Text messages of support to Des (Basildon) 07814432215 John (Belfast) 07816 590 380 Kevin (Enfield) 07956 375 410.
Download the » Visteon workers collection sheet
Download Socialist Worker's » Visteon leaflet