Visteon pensioners bring solidarity to Fords workers

Yesterday, two weeks after 1400 Ford workers were told that they face the dole, 80 ex-Ford Visteon pensioners leafleted the Ford plants in Bridgend and Dagenham as their union Unite prepares for legal action to win back the full value of their pensions from Ford. NSSN supporters gave out the leaflet at Southampton today.

In 2000, Ford created Visteon as a so-called independent component manufacturer, with the guarantee that jobs, pay, terms & conditions would be given ‘life-time protection’. However, in 2009 Visteon was put into administration, the three remaining plants – Basildon, Belfast and Enfield were closed with 600 workers sacked with minutes notice. They would have received statutory redundancy of a maximum of £9000 but through occupations and pickets, including the threat to blockade Bridgend, they were able to win a decent pay-off. Also, over 3000 sacked workers and pensioners (from these plants and the factory in Swansea that was sold to Linamar in 2008 and closed in 2010)  have had their pensions slashed because it was put into the Pension Protection Fund. However, the pensioners have got organised and have conducted a campaign of protests and lobbies which will continue up to the court date next spring.

These ex-Ford pensioners also wanted to show solidarity to Ford workers in the aftermath of the announcement of the closure of the Transit plant in Southampton and the Stamping plant in Dagenham. Their leaflet raised their concerns about Ford workers and pensioners facing the nuclear Visteon option as Ford UK has a combined pension deficit of over £2billion but a workforce that has dwindled from 50,000 in 2000 to less than 11,000 if the closures go through. No wonder, they had a fantastic reception from Ford workers who are well aware of the dangerous situation being created by the new redundancies. The National Shop Stewards Network gives full support to the protest as well as the workers facing the sack. Alec Thraves from Swansea Trades Council was at Bridgend while ex-Ford worker and former Visteon Swansea Convenor, NSSN chair and Visteon pensioner Rob Williams took part at Dagenham.

A Shop Stewards Network Bulletin for Ford workers in Southampton can be found here