Visteon pensioners win financial offer from Ford

Swansea workers to meet next Tuesday 7.30 pm

Fighting for pension justice

Former employees of Visteon/Ford, including many in Swansea, are considering an offer of compensation from Ford for losses incurred after pensions were transferred to Visteon; a new company formed by Ford, but for which Ford did not accept any liability for losses to the pension fund.

Hundreds marched yesterday, April 2nd, from their union UNITE’s HQ in Holborn to Parliament to demand pension justice. It was the 5th anniversary of Visteon going into administration, which closed the remaining plants, resulting in a heroic struggle by the 600 sacked workers that won enhanced redundancy. This proved to be an inspiration for the campaign that was then waged by 3,000 ex- workers who were robbed of parts of their pensions when Visteon went bust in 2009.

Since then the Visteon Pensions Justice Action Group has campaigned tirelessly for the parent company, Ford, to live up to it’s obligations to the workers, which has backed up a legal claim by Unite against Ford which is due to be heard in court in November. But the pensioners will be hoping that this will be the last time they need to march has Ford has at last made an offer of compensation, which in itself is a victory to force such a giant multi-national corporation to put something on the table.

Ford created Visteon in 2000 when it spun-off its component manufacturing plants and the workers were convinced to transfer their pension into the new Visteon scheme after Ford made the infamous 'Ford/Visteon Separation Agreement' which guaranteed 'lifetime protection' for terms & conditions and pension.

The march was a success with hundreds gathering from former plants in Swansea, Belfast, Enfield and Basildon. The rally outside Unite HQ was chaired by ex-Swansea convener and NSSN chair Rob Williams who addressed the rally as well as the former Belfast convener John Maguire, Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly member Bethan Jenkins, Unite officials and other Visteon workers. At Parliament, they were met by MPs who had supported the campaign.

At the start and end of the march, a minute’s applause was given in memory of those members who had passed away over the 5 years. Rob Williams said, "This is the human side to this story. People have died in the time that Ford has dragged their feet. We welcome the offer and thank our union and our general secretary Len McCluskey for UNITE’s support. This offer doesn’t cover what we’ve lost or what we deserve but it is a testament to the incredible struggle that the pensioners have put up, inspired by the great fight of the sacked workers in 2009."

There will now be meetings in all four areas for members to consider the offer. The Swansea meeting is next Tuesday April 8th in The Railway Club in Wind Street at 7.30pm

A Swansea Visteon pensioner

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