Basildon Visteon workers protest outside former boss' home

Axed employees protested outside the £600,000 Maldon home of their former boss – demanding the redundancy and pension packages they were promised.

Submitted by Ed on April 8, 2009

A total of 170 former workers at Visteon (UK) in Basildon face the dole queue and reduced pensions They waved banners outside the home of Stephen Gawne, 53, who is still a director of Visteon (UK) despite it going into administration.

He is now based at sister company Visteon Engineering Services in Endeavour Drive, Basildon. The firm will not confirm his role there.

Visteon Engineering is not paying redundancies and is accused of not honouring pensions for ex-workers of sister car parts company Visteon UK in Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, despite being set up by the same people.

Visteon UK workers were given just six minutes notice, statutory redundancies and news their pension trust had a £260million deficit, when they lost jobs last Tuesday.

The firm is reported to have debts of £669million, but £400million of this is owed to its own parent company Visteon Corporation, whose president Donald J Stebbins last year took home £996,928 in salary and bonuses.

When Visteon split from Ford UK in 2000, staff were promised equal pay, pension and redundancy rights to Ford staff.

Scott Edmunds, 33, explained why Mr Gawne’s home was targeted: “We’re all out of a job, but he’s okay. We want him to know we won’t just roll over. I’ve had to tell my daughter I won’t be able to get what she wants for her fifth birthday.”

The demo came as Visteon set up new mystery car parts company Automotive Products Ltd, just weeks before KPMG was called in to liquidate Visteon UK, causing 600 job losses around the country.

Mr Gawne is a director of Visteon Charleville, France, and of another Visteon car parts sister company called Reydel Ltd and now Automotive Products, also registered to Endeavor Drive, Basildon.