Socialist Worker

Visteon: ‘Our weakness is that we don’t know our strength’

by Raymond Dixon, Unite shop steward at Visteon in Enfield, north London (pc)
Issue No. 2148

What happened to us could have happened to anyone. It just happened to be us.

At the time of our sacking we had no plan of what to do – we just knew that we had to do something. They robbed us of our dignity.

We came back to the plant the next day and found an open door. It was a window of opportunity to take possession of the building and we took it. We had nothing to lose – what more could they do to us?

The first days of our occupation were the hardest. There were uncertainties and lots of us weren’t really sure what to do next. We were in a situation we’d never been in before.

But we had a common bond and management couldn’t break it. People have worked together for decades and we’re like a family. We have respect for each other.

We have to try and make a change because we don’t like what happened to us and we don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

Together we are strong. People should remember that we have a say – and the only time we don’t have a say is when we choose not to.

Our weakness is that we don’t know our strength. There is more that unites us than divides us. The strength lies with the people but they don’t always know that they have it.

What happened inside our occupation couldn’t have happened without what happened outside. To support other people is to support ourselves.

Union officials have no accountability. We have very little say in what the national union does. We need to take back our union, we should control it more than it controls us.

I’ve come to realise that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. The officials have shown by their actions that they are part of the problem.

The system has failed us and is still failing us. I think the system needs changing.

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