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Visteon – Bosses say “accept cuts or we close”

(May 2006)

From the Socialist, 16, May 2006.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

Visteon Bosses are attempting to put a gun to the heads of their UK work-force saying “either accept cuts in pensions and in conditions or else face the prospect of the plants closing”.

The company have scheduled three days of negotiations, starting on 10 May, on their proposals to attack existing terms and conditions. One worker in the Belfast Visteon plant told The Socialist:

“Workers here are very angry at these proposals. The mood is that we should not negotiate on these terms. If we pull out of the talks, it is likely that the other UK plants will do the same. If Visteon then go ahead and impose the changes, we would have no option out to ballot for strike action. ”

Asked about the threat to close the plant he stressed that the workforce were not going to be browbeaten by such ultimatums:

“We are not going to surrender our conditions under threat. If we make concessions now, it will be just the start. As it is there are signs that Visteon is ready to pull out anyway. Two thirds of the factory has already been sold off to a holding company. The land has also been sold.”

Visteon, which supplies components for Ford, was originally part of the Ford group but was spun off in 2000. One of the reasons was to make it easier to close it and move the production to somewhere cheaper.

Among the workforce there is disgust at Ford:

“The problem could be solved if Visteon were to be reincorporated back into Ford. They have already done this with the equivalent company in the US. Instead Ford seem prepared to let this company go to the wall. Workers here are prepared to fight. We have nothing to lose.”

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