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Peter Hadden

Strike threat at Visteon

(April 2006)

From The Socialist, April 2006.
Transcribed by Ciaran Crossey.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A dispute over pensions, pay and conditions could lead to strike action at the Visteon factory in West Belfast.

Visteon’s UK bosses have given workers in Belfast, and in their three other UK plants, an ultimatum – either accept cuts or the company could be put into administration.

Visteon was created in 2000 as a spin off from Ford’s component manufacturing. At that time, the workforce were given guarantees by Ford management that their pension rights would be protected and their pay and conditions would continue to mirror those of Ford as a whole.

Now, clearly under pressure from Ford, Visteon are trying to rip up these agreements. Workers are concerned that Ford and Visteon are attempting to run down the UK plants. The pump product line has recently been desourced from the Belfast plant leading to 100 redundancies.

Brake, disc and drum volume has also been secretly outsourced from the Swansea plant. The company ultimatum came on 25 March when they told the unions that talks on "renegotiating" basic conditions would be held late at the end of April. Union representatives have responded by making it clear that any attempt to introduce these cuts or to close any of the four UK plants would result in a ballot for strike action.

A worker in the Belfast factory told The Socialist:

“If Visteon go ahead with this attack we will fight. We are not going to be intimidated by their threat to close the plants. Our plants supply Ford worldwide. If we all come out we have the power to bring Ford to a halt. If that is what it takes to save the 270 jobs in Belfast and the jobs in the other factories and to defend our conditions we are prepared to do it.”

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