Monday, April 13, 2009

Occupations show how to fight

Step up the solidarity with visteon workers

Workers at the Ford Visteon car parts plants in Enfield, Basildon and Belfast are at a crucial stage in their fight for jobs and justice. They need your help.

The Belfast plant has been in occupation for over two weeks and is still sitting-in. The Enfield occupation, which lasted nine days, ended last week on the recommendation of the union after action in the courts.

But a strong campaign continues there, as it does at Basildon.
The Belfast workers have burned the legal threats they were sent!

This is a crucial battle for jobs. By occupying their plants and mounting a major campaign, these workers have inspired many others.

The bosses have massacred hundreds of thousands of jobs while the government simply looked on—and the union leaders offered little resistance.
Now Visteon workers have shown how to hit back.

There could hardly be a more gross example of the way bosses are trying to make workers pay for the crisis.
Visteon workers used to work for Ford. Nine years ago they were transferred to another company, Visteon.
Documents given to staff at the time told them they would not lose out and would retain full Ford contracts.

All that has now been ripped up. Bosses simply informed some 600 workers at the end of March that the company was going into administration and there was no money to pay them for the days they had worked that week or offer redundancy pay, the chance of transfer, pensions, or consultation.

Around Britain trade unionists and local communities are mobilising support for the Visteon campaign. But the workers face formidable enemies.

Visteon bosses hope to get away without paying anything, and there are strong rumours that leading figures in the company hope to buy the machinery on the cheap and re-open under another name—but paying lower wages.

Ford has tried to wash its hands of its responsibilities.

And the Labour government has left in place anti-union laws which bosses used against this basic fight for justice.

Visteon workers need much more support

Collections and delegations
Every trade unionist and campaigner must send a message of support, take a collection, and ask the Visteon workers to visit their workplace.

Join pickets and protests
Visteon workers are picketing Ford dealers and showrooms to increase the pressure. Join them or organise your own in solidarity.

Black all Visteon products
Visteon products are being used today in parts of the car industry. Bosses deliberately stockpiled components to see off a strike or occupation. Workers, especially at Ford, should refuse to use Visteon materials.
Products from Visteon Enfield are used on the Transit at Southampton and at other Ford plants. They are also used on the Freelander Land Rover (L395) on Halewood. The Belfast Visteon plant makes parts for the Ford Fiesta.
Unite should make clear that it will back workers who take action to support Visteon.

Hold workplace meetings
Unite should encourage car workers and former Visteon workers at plants such as IAC on Merseyside and Linamar in Swansea to hold meetings for Visteon workers—in works time! If talks this week don't produce an acceptable deal, there should be delegations from Visteon to stop production at Ford.

Demand the government intervenes
If there are hundreds of billions for the banks, why can't the government save these jobs—and take the plants into public ownership if Visteon won't guarantee work.

Unite must give full support
It was wrong to recommend that the Enfield occupation ended. Unite must step-up the support and encourage solidarity everywhere. Rank and file workers must increase the pressure on the officials and organise solidarity themselves.

Stop the Genocide in Sril Lanka - London April 11 2009

Stop the War supported the protest calling for an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka.
Over 200,000 people marched against the killing of civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces and in support of the right of the Tamil people to self determination.
Report on Tamilnet:
"In a historic show of solidarity, more than 200,000 British Tamils, nearly two thirds of Tamils resident in Britain, marched through the streets of London Saturday demanding immediate ceasefire and recognition of Tamil Eelam. Sparked off by the initiative of second generation diaspora Tamil youth and students four days earlier, the Saturday's march became an unprecedented rallying point for the entire community, attracting the old students associations of the educational institutions of Eezham Tamils, functioning in London. The spirited participation of teens and mothers with babies in pushchairs significantly marked the level of community involvement in the agitation. "

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ford Visteon Occupation Enfield ends - 24 Hour Picket begins April 9 2009

Camera: Mick Berry
Edit: Ady Cousins
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Statement from Enfield Ford Visteon workers

At a hearing at the High Court on Monday 6th April, the union Unite won the right for the Enfield occupation to continue without further legal duress until noon on Thursday 9th April so that negations with Visteon US could take place. (Two local trade union representatives had by then already been served with restraining orders threatening them with prison sentences.)

Kevin Nolan, the Enfield Unite convener, flew with Derek Simpson and Roger Maddison, to New York on Tuesday and held promising talks with the senior management, which will be resumed on Tuesday 13th somewhere in the UK.

After Kevin Nolan reported back, the workforce accepted Unites advice to cease the occupation by the legal deadline. The enthusiastic demonstration of several hundred people who had gathered to express support for their cause clapped, chanted and cheered the occupiers for the stand they had taken.

They are now picketing the factory to keep the pressure on Ford Visteon, and prevent them from removing equipment or products, and if necessary prevent Ford Visteon from re-opening the factory with a scab labour work force.

The 24-hour picket will be difficult without financial, physical and political support. Messages of support, financial contributions and physical presence are required urgently. Kevin Nolan can be contacted on 07956 375 410 or

Enfield and Haringey TUCs have called on a rally Saturday 11th April at the factory, Morson Road, EN3 4NQ.

A Ford Visteon workers support group is helping to coordinate support by sustaining the pickets and publicising the Ford Visteon workers struggle for justice. By agreement with the pickets, Haringey Solidarity Group will channel financial support to the pickets through their bank account. Cheques made out to 'Haringey Solidarity Group' or 'HSG' may be sent to HSG, PO Box 2474, London N8 0HW (write Ford Visteon on the back). Next support group meeting Thursday 16th, 7.30pm, Millennium Centre, 386 West Green Rd, N15 3QL. All welcome.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Visteon Occupation - A fight for justice - Interviews with Enfield workers April 4 2009

Join the Visteon Occupation Facebook Group:

Workers at Visteon car component plants in Enfield (North London) and Belfast are occupying their factories. The workers, some of whom have worked at the plants for 40 years, were told their jobs were finished and given 20 minutes to clear their lockers. But they are refusing to be bullied, and are standing up for their rights.
The majority of the workforce are ex-Ford workers, producing products for Ford, and on contracts that were supposed to mirror Ford contracts. That means Ford should step in to offer decent redundancy, workers say.
Every worker should get behind the Visteon workers fight for justice.

Send a message of support now from yourself and any official union body to (Bob is a steward in the Enfield occupation but can get email). Copy it to Steve is the official dealing with this.