Ford-Visteon workers won a tremendous victory in their struggle for justice last week – but their fight is by no means over.
Around 600 workers across three sites fought a fantastic campaign after they were sacked with no notice and no redundancy packages at the end of March. Instead of accepting their fate, workers occupied their factories and refused to let the company walk away from its obligations.
Their determination and militancy forced Ford, former owner of Visteon, to agree to pay out thousands of pounds in redundancy packages. But workers are refusing to leave the plants until they see the money.
In Enfield, north London and Basildon in Essex, 24-hour pickets of the plants stop the company or its administrator, KPMG, from removing any equipment.
Meanwhile, Belfast workers have entered their seventh week of occupation. KPMG took the workers to court on Wednesday of last week and won an order to evict them. But they remain in the plant.
“I’m not remotely concerned about the court order,” John McGuire, the Unite union convenor at the Belfast site, told Socialist Worker. “I don’t think they will try and implement it – but if they do we have ways around it.
“We could stay here forever and a day if we had to.”
Kevin Nolan is the Unite convenor at the Enfield plant. He told Socialist Worker, “The paperwork of the deal has come through and the company is now calculating exactly how much money people will be getting.
“I think they’ll want to sort it out as soon as possible to get rid of us. There’s been a good crowd of people outside the site and we’re still building solidarity – for example, someone’s going to speak at the Fire Brigades Union conference this week.”
Linda Bartle has worked at the Enfield site for 21 years. “We’re just sat waiting until the money comes through,” she told Socialist Worker. “There’s no trust left in the company now – we can’t believe anything the bosses say.
“The support we’ve received has been fantastic but we still need people to come to the picket lines and support us.”
Visteon workers will travel to Swansea this week to show their support for sacked Unite convenor Rob Williams (see below). And Visteon workers will make up a strong delegation to lead the march for jobs in Birmingham on Saturday.
There may be a debate about the way forward if the company demands that workers stop their pickets and occupations before it pays any money.
But the workers are right not to have any faith in their bosses and in refusing to leave. Every trade unionist should continue to raise support for their struggle.