“This recession is like a cancer,” says Sharon, whose partner Richard was sacked last week after working for Ford and then Visteon for 17 years.
“They used to say that one in five people you know would get the disease. But now it’s like that with job losses,” she explained.
“My eldest daughter has a two year old child and another on the way. Her partner was made redundant in November. His brother has five kids. He was made redundant last Friday.
“My daughter’s 9th birthday was on the same day Visteon announced its closure. I was trying to make it a good day for her. I was blowing up balloons but crying at the same time.
“Now, for the first time in our lives, we’ve had to phone the social security and hand our lives over to them.”
Many of the sacked workers fear that they will never find another job.
“Lots of the workers here are in their 50s and have worked here 20 or 30 years,” Basildon worker Terry Murphy told
Socialist Worker. “They’ve never signed on the dole in their lives.
“We’re skilled workers, but most don’t have formal qualifications. It’s going to be tough trying to find work.
“I feel crapped on to be honest. We’ve been sold down the river by Visteon and Ford.
“And no one has even bothered to say sorry for what they’ve done.”
Robert Lombardi has worked at the Enfield plant for over 18 years. “They’ve used the credit crunch as an excuse to get rid of us,” he told Socialist Worker.
“Now we’re just another statistic in the unemployment figures. I’ve never been on the dole before – I don’t know what to do. This job is all I know.
“The fat cats think they can do whatever they want – they make their own rules. But enough’s enough.”
Since Chris lost his job at the Basildon site, his partner Debbie has spent much of her time supporting the workers.
She told Socialist Worker, “Chris rang me from work straight after the company told them about the closure.
“He couldn’t even speak because he was in tears. They all were.
“It’s disgusting how they have been treated. I still have to pinch myself to know that this is really happening.
“Lot’s of families are suffering because of the recession.
“I don’t believe that those at the top even know or care how many lives they have wrecked, how many marriages and families they have destroyed, or the knock on effect on people’s children.”
The mood among the workers has shifted from distress to defiance as everyone involved has been buoyed by the occupations and demonstrations at the factories.
Martin Adams has worked at Enfield for 30 years. “We’re all absolutely sick to the stomach,” he told Socialist Worker.
“The way they sacked us is underhand and malicious – I think they were planning it for a long time.
“When we were split off from Ford nine years ago we were promised Ford terms and conditions for life.
“We changed our shift patterns, worked weekends and went along with all the efficiency changes for the company – we didn’t make a fuss about it.
“But when something like this happens you’ve got to make a stand. You can’t say, come and trample all over me!”