06/04/2009

Visteon Protest Continues

As recession-hit workers in west Belfast continue their protest sit-in for its seventh day, it has emerged that talks in New York this week could decide their fate.

The workers are occupying car plants in demand for improved redundancy payments and even held a family fun day on Sunday with speakers supporting their demands for better pay-offs.

The workers have been staging their protest at the Visteon plant since last week, when administrators KPMG announced it was shutting the car parts manufacturer.

Workers at the plant on Finaghy Road North refused to leave the premises when given notice on Tuesday.

Union leaders will now meet Visteon representatives in New York on Wednesday to demand compensation from the company's former owner, car giant Ford.

Last week workers at two plants in England were also made redundant and joined in the protests started by the Belfast staff of the car parts manufacturer.
News Image
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams (pictured) has joined in the protests and addressed workers during the morale-boosting family fun day at the plant.

"The workers have received a gesture of solidarity today from people from right across Belfast and further afield," said the West Belfast MP.

Mr Adams said he had spoken to Ford's Europe Cheif Executive Officer John Fleming, having already raised the issue with him earlier this week.

A total of 210 workers in Belfast lost their jobs, while a further 350 redundancies were announced in Basildon, Essex, and Enfield, north London.

Visteon blamed massive losses for the decision to shut the UK operation, but workers have produced documentation which they claim shows they were promised settlements in line with those on offer by Ford.

Mr Adams said: "Workers' rights must be protected. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Visteon workers until they are treated properly."

Mr Adams added: "My office has kept the New York City Comptroller's office fully briefed on the situation and on developments at the Belfast plant."

(BMcC/JM)

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