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.

No comments: