Workers occupy Visteon Factory - updates and discussion

Submitted by jef costello on March 31, 2009

Workers in Belfast have ocupied the factory after being told they would only receive statutory redundancy pay as the company is in administration.
It's union supported according to statements. There are two other visteon factories one in Enfield and one in Basildon.

Anyone got any more info?

Bobby

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

nothing extra. Its important that as many of us in the North get out there and see what we can do to help. There is a possibility this could spread to England

Choccy

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah local radio had interviews with some of the employees but couldn't gather anything more on the BBC coverage.
They're speaking to some of the factory occupants now and they're saying they're in it for the long-haul.

The preferential demand is for Ford obviously to give their jobs back.
But given that's obviously unlikely they're demanding the same redundancy package apparently being offered to workers in the English plants

BB

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A bit more
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7974454.stm

http://www.u.tv/News/Job-losses-at-Belfast-car-plant/ebf9e3e7-3d9b-410e-82d3-d6fb36d644ea

Bobby

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am hopefully going there tommorrow to chat and carry out an audio interview

Demogorgon303

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not sure if this article adds anything, but here you are:

Skips

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

its spread to england.

Entdinglichung

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Enfield and Basildon too: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/04/425955.html

Bobby

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Exclusive audio interview with shop steward at the factory will be posted tonight

sum-one

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Would be brilliant if some people could get there and lend a hand/show some solidarity. At least it shows we aren't all rioting in London :bb:

Choccy

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hopefully some of us in Organise will get up tomorrow :)

jef costello

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

email: I've c + p'd the whole thing because I don't have a link.

Date: Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 5:28 PM

For immediate and urgent release
Support Visteon workers!
200 Visteon car plant workers in Belfast are blockading their factory
after the Company went into administration today. If they get away with
it, over 600 workers in ex-Ford factories in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon
will be sacked and left to claim statutory redundancy form the state. Even
workers with over 30 years service will only get about 9 grand and most
workers a lot less. Also, their pensions plus those of ex-Visteon workers
in Swansea and retirees will go into the Pension Protection Fund, which
will result in reduced payments. This is the brutal side of capitalism -
no bailouts or bonuses like the bankrupt fat cats but bare minimum pay
outs and the dole. Visteon UK executives have jumped ship are now employed
by their own spin-off 'Visteon Engineering Services'. A life raft for rats
escaping the sinking ship!
Visteon was spun-off by Ford in 2000 as a device to slash costs at the
expense of the workforce. Two and then three-tier contracts then followed
as well as outsourcing of 'indirect' jobs. However, for Visteon bosses
this wasn't enough. They've spent the last 3 1/2 tears demanding that
Visteon workers break their Ford 'mirrored' contracts. No doubt there will
be some in the unions who will agree with management that if only the
workforce had agreed cuts in their pay, pensions, terms & conditions,
insolvency could have been avoided. The reality is however, that Visteon
like General Motors' spin-off Delphi was never viable. Visteon workers
were correct to resist and have had at least more income by doing so. It
was that successful battle that has given the Belfast workers the
confidence to resist now.
These workers want to put pressure on Ford to intervene to stop the
sackings. They are appealing to the unions in Ford to support them by not
using parts shipped in to replace those from Belfast. If that fails, the
occupation can be built to involve the trade union movement and
working-class community to force the government to intervene to
nationalise Visteon to save these jobs.
Messages of support / offers of help to John Maguire Belfast Unite
Convenor - 07816590380

Django

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any london libcommers able to make it over then?

blackdwarf

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll try to make it for the evening after work.

jef costello

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7977758.stm

BBC report on occupations.

blackdwarf

I'll try to make it for the evening after work.

Do you happen to know the address of the factory in Enfield?

Bobby

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

comrades, audio interview avaliabe here
http://ireland.indymedia.org/article/91768

fee free to use it for libcom

antoniamautempo

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ciao,

short report on enfield from this morning (2nd of april) on:

http://london.indymedia.org.uk/articles/995

plus flyer for solidarity visit tomorrow and saturday (4th of april)

http://london.indymedia.org.uk/events/998

jolly roger

blackdwarf

I'll try to make it for the evening after work.

Do you happen to know the address of the factory in Enfield?

Google says:

Enfield Plant
Visteon UK Ltd.
Wharf Road
Enfield
Middlesex
EN3 4TN

PartyBucket

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Myself and Deezer are just back from visiting the occupied factory in Belfast. The workers we spoke to at the gate were appreciative of any support, and impressed and heartened by the levels of support shown to them thus far. We were invited in for a look around and a cup of tea, and chatted to the workers on site. They are taking the occupation in shifts, and say they are prepared to be there for the long haul, with the intention of preventing any plant or machinery being removed from the site until a satisfactory settlement is reached. There are people spraypainting placards and banners on site and it seems this has the potential to continue go on for some time.

Armchair Anarchist

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From the NSSN mailing list:

Messages of support for Visteon workers in Belfast can be sent to
[email protected]

Red Marriott

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A small group of us went today to Enfield. It's only 4 train stops to Ponders End from Liverpool St, then a short walk (see article in News for directions). Occupiers on roof with banners. 50 or so people outside, mainly other fellow workers, friends and family outside the the factory, very friendly and appreciative of support. Some union officials were there, saying they have an important meeting tomorrow with management, and that they'll push for proper redundancy package for all workers.

The occupiers are in good spirits - but expecting an eviction notice to be served any day. An eviction would presumably take a few days to organise. Hard to know how much material leverage against the bosses occupying gives the workers; depends on how much the company value the plant machinery still inside. It may be that it's obsolete (only useful for discontinued models) or too expensive to remove and transport to new factories abroad. Or it may still be valuable and the bosses weren't expecting an occupation and so are kicking themselves now... I'm speculating.

Workers had been put on 1, 2, or 3 day shifts since November - led to believe such a sacrifice would help pull the company thru hard times - a now familiar story we shall hear more frequently as more workplaces move towards closure.

Workers say that they generally have contracts with Ford, not Visteon, who Ford later contracted to before Ford pulled out a few years ago. But Ford say they now have no obligations to these workers. (This is all from memory of several different conversations, so apologies for any errors.) Multinationals and their sub-contracting manoeuvres have left workers confused, and are often probably convenient legal loopholes for the bosses.

The union will presumably come back with some kind of deal in next few days - the mood seemed to be that the workers will accept nothing less than full redundancy and pension packages. So there is a possibility workers may reject a deal they feel falls short. This is one reason why it's worth giving as much support as possible, to encourage them to stick it out as long as there's something worth fighting for and to show they're not alone.

There is a demo at 11am this Saturday outside the factory - all welcome.

fatbongo

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If anyone is going over, Enfield occupiers have said they need "sleeping bags and deoderant"

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The flyer I saw at Freedom read more like asking for support against eviction tomorrow (Friday).

Red Marriott

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alan says go today, comment on News says 10am Fri & Sat, we were told yesterday Saturday 11am. There may be some confusion cos they were served with a wrongly addressed eviction notice - by yesterday afternoon they were still waiting for this to be re-served, making eviction today less likely.
Best to call the mobile phone inside the plant: 07799896466

Red Marriott

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another account from a visitor yesterday;

"On arrival at Visteon a group of police were walking around the plant accompanied by security. Although the workers have control of the main factory there are all sorts of ancillary buildings and entrances to which security have access. Two former workers greeted us, they were sitting outside the main gate blocking it with a car and collecting donations from passers by. We hung around and considered waiting in case the police were there to assist a lorry entering the plant to remove equipment. Apparently Jaguar pulled out their tools earlier last week (or in the last two weeks?) presumably in anticipation of the sudden redundancies/plant closure. Land Rover, however did not pull their tools out so these are still in the factory.

We learnt a lot from the workers at the gate, they told us of how the company had run down the factory over the last two years. Most of the workers actually have contracts with Ford (unconfirmed). In 2000 Ford had spun-off Visteon, this allowed them to manufacture parts for other companies but also further remove or distance an unprofitable part of the company, but Ford retains a 60 percent share. More recently Visteon became Visteon UK ltd. So, despite Visteon UK being now being in receivership (other parts of Visteon have continued in US etc.) as far as the two workers outside the gate are concerned Visteon is Ford and they are Ford workers. It'd be interesting to know whether the legal situation is different for workers with Visteon or Ford contracts - its obviously harder to negotiate with a company in receivership.

Later we walked round to the side of the factory where the workers in occupation were - on the roof and standing on this big staircase holding banners, flags etc. There was a speech from three Unite officials. Usual stuff, a lot about the importance of the meetings they would be having with Visteon/Ford. Some talk about getting more Ford workers out - on solidarity actions or in occupation against redundancies. Less mention of European wide solidarity let alone international solidarity actions. Unite officials promised a quick resolution of the 'problem', insisted they would negotiate good redundancy pay etc. I think they have important meetings today and Saturday. The demo at the plant this Saturday 11am seems to be planned to coincide with one of these negotiating meetings. Unite promised 'anything you need' - the most vocal demand was for clean underpants! Later someone told us that Unite had not given any food or other practical help, it was all
coming from friends and family (or SWP friends). One guy invited the Unite officials to stay the night. Another asked that they get there 6am in the morning - the officials had other plans, important meetings etc. One of the last things they said (in response to workers demands) was that they would negotiate for the same deal for both Visteon and Ford workers.

In general the workers were really friendly and lively. We were warmly greeted at the gate and there were loads of people coming and going, bringing supplies, chatting, cheering, taking the news to Dagenham and reporting back. They are also planning to go to Southampton today or over the weekend.

A guy inside told me that they were determined to stay and felt secure, that out of the 70 or so remaining in occupation they had some people doing shifts, but most just staying there round the clock (i.e. most of them had been there for 48 hours without a break). Obviously its important that the occupation continues while Unite are negotiating with Ford and Visteon's receivers. All of the workers there were machine workers. All of them had contracts as the few temp workers that worked there had been sacked in November last year. They reckoned that the company had about 6 months work in stock/stored up and had begun to invest in building new plants in Hungary and Turkey (I think?).

... after initially feeling a part of the vulture culture of small groups of SWP hanging about people seemed genuinely pleased to see us and happy to get some reading material, swap news and know that people had heard and were prepared to support them. Lots of waving and cheering from the roof as we left."

Red Marriott

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The possession case in court today at 2pm - no news on any result so far.
Apparently this is the third time the company has tried to serve court papers on them (they messed it up the first two times).

The occupiers state that the demo is 10 am tomorrow (Saturday 4 Apr).

jef costello

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A bit late but

Friday 1.30pm

I’ve just had a call from the workers in the Visteon plant in Enfield – 2 van loads of bailiffs have just arrived and are threatening to re-take the factory by force, without a proper court order – they want as many people as possible to get down there

(Wharf Road, Ponders End)

If they're still holding it then that makes tomorrow more important.

Ford Visteon workers have been pleased at the support received from other Ford plants as well, such as Southampton, who are blacking Visteon products.

Come to the factory in Morson Road, near Ponders End train station, to show your support.
Join a support protest on Saturday 4th April 10-11am.
(Trains from Tottenham Hale, then the plant is a 5 min walk from Ponders End station, cross the foot-bridge, walk down main road towards Central London, the next street to the left is Morson Road, with the factory situated at the end)

There's also talk of a visit to Southampton by some of th occupiers.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The bailiffs only came to serve a notice I think, I also got an emergency text around 4pm haha...

Excellent news about Southampton.

Ex-temp

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Right well hope to see some of you tomorrow then!

JoeMaguire

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Saturday 4 April 10-11am Enfield, London
Solidarity with the plant occupations!
Morson Road which is over the road from Ponders End train station
(4 stops from Liverpool Street)
http://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/04/426303.html

robot

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We have a comrade that works at a Visteon plant close to Düsseldorf, Germany. We are preparing a leaftlet for the work-mates there. If you have any new information concering the occupations please let us know either by posting in this thread or by PM.

greenrenegade

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

some (specifically Enfield) links for everybody:

Website (up and running soon): http://www.visteonoccupation.org/
Libcom Blog: http://libcom.org/tags/visteon-occupation
ITV Video Clips: http://www.itnsource.com/shotlist//ITN/2009/04/01/T01040918/?s=visteon
Indymedia Search Results: https://london.indymedia.org.uk/search/find_content?search%5Bsearch_terms%5D=enfield
Financial Times article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/06ca251a-209f-11de-b930-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1
BBC News Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7976783.stm
Lenin's Tomb article: http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/04/support-ford-visteon-workers-occupation.html

Peace

greenrenegade

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

also, please send any messages of support to [email protected] and they will be relayed to the occupiers

thanks

posi

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Report on rallly today, incorporating interview with worker and analysis of solidarity strategy.

http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/notes-from-the-visteon-rally/

greenrenegade

Website (up and running soon): http://www.visteonoccupation.org/

done!

to be improved shortly as well.

Choccy

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

good stuff :)

jesuithitsquad

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

anyone have a leaflet? it turns out there's a plant just a few miles from me. confusing as it was once a ford plant and now listed as automotive components, llc but the listing redirects to visteon.com. anyway, if there's a leaflet being used maybe i could revise it a bit for u.s. distro. don't know how much it could help, but building the seeds of international solidarity can never hurt.

Steven.

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

which country? leaflet coming soon!

Steven.

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

which country? leaflet coming soon!

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Really impressed by the turnout yesterday and the morale amongst the workers. They desperately need sleeping bags and funding if any other Londoners are considering visiting the site.

Django

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll see if Manc AF can raise some money this week. Are both SE sites in need of funds?

PartyBucket

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just heard that Belfast plant is holding a 'fun day' today....myself Deezer and Choccy plan to head along, will report back later, unless I break my leg on a bouncy castle.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not really sure about the situation in Basildon, it wasn't discussed yesterday.

jesuithitsquad

anyone have a leaflet?

articles and a leaflet available here: https://london.indymedia.org.uk/search/find_content?search%5Bsearch_terms%5D=enfield

All good in the Enfield factory at present. There's been a scare with security trying new tactics to enter the occupied part, but they have again been repelled. Morale is still high with many people's families and friends visting, along with BBC News again, a Unite researcher and members of the local community. Food and sleeping supplies are continually arriving.

Tomorrow could be a big day for the occupation due to the court hearing; if anyone can make it here, at any time of day, their presence would be gladly appreciated.

Thanks

notch8

Just heard that Belfast plant is holding a 'fun day' today....myself Deezer and Choccy plan to head along, will report back later, unless I break my leg on a bouncy castle.

could you talk to them about the blog for enfield, see if they want to add stuff? or you could help them maybe?

Steven.

notch8

Just heard that Belfast plant is holding a 'fun day' today....myself Deezer and Choccy plan to head along, will report back later, unless I break my leg on a bouncy castle.

could you talk to them about the blog for enfield, see if they want to add stuff? or you could help them maybe?

Will see what we can do...maybe a few photos as well.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An article on the Socialist Worker site dated yesterday about Basildon employees demonstrating outside their factory: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17544

It appears that there is uncertainty there about where to go now, with their occupation having ended. They aren't represented on the internet (other than in that SW article) and therefore it's hard to know what they might like in terms of support.

The address of the plant is as follows:

Christopher Martin Road
Basildon, Essex SS14 3HG
United Kingdom
Phone : ‎+44 1268 705300
Fax : ‎+44 1268 287456

Might be worthwhile asking the Enfield occupiers whether they've had any contact and also seeing if anyone can make it up there (Googlemaps says it's 30 miles from Enfield) or has sympathetic contacts up there.

sum-one

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Brilliant stuff comrades, I'm glad anarchists & the such have got so involved so soon. Same goes for the school occupations in Glasgow.

Is there a phone number/email address that messages of support can be sent to?(Preferably to the workers in the plant, not a union official, hehe).

sum-one

Is there a phone number/email address that messages of support can be sent to?(Preferably to the workers in the plant, not a union official, hehe).

yes, please send messages to [email protected] the email account is checked on site. thanks.

PartyBucket

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some pics from the open day at the Belfast plant...was well attended, and the workers are as determined as ever to stay put.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The workers have requested the following:

-sleeping bags
-kitchenware
-marquee/gazebo (or equipment for one)
-furniture

Tomorrow there's a demonstration at the High Court, Strand in support of UNITE convenor Kevin Nolan (not the Newcastle striker) who's threatened with a prison term for his role in the occupation. Injunction starts at 10.30am, assemble at 9.30am.

Also the occupiers have requested the presence of some people onsite from early tomorrow morning in anticipation of a visit from the bailiffs.

greenrenegade

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Visteon Occupations Explained

June 2000 – Ford Motor Company created a subsidiary called Visteon. Ford employees at these plants were given ‘mirrored’ contracts, i.e. Ford Motor Company terms and conditions for life. No other contracts regarding Visteon were ever signed by Ford employees. Since that date the employees at these plants have assisted Ford/Visteon in every way to facilitate the introduction of new products and adopt ‘lean manufacturing practices’.

31st March 2009 – At lunchtime all employees at the Belfast, Basildon and Enfield plants were informed with six minutes notice to leave the premises as Visteon had ceased trading and was now in receivership. Most of the employees averaged 20 years plus of service. There is no redundancy package or payment of monies owed. In all, 600 workers now face extreme financial difficulties, which include the loss of their homes and a very uncertain future. Why? Because Ford Motor Company will not honour our contracts or agreements that they and Visteon originally signed.

Workers in Belfast and Enfield have occupied their plants and WILL NOT leave until Ford/Visteon honours their agreements to give employees what is contractually theirs by right.

As of 31st March 2009, 600 people will no longer be paying tax, National Insurance or buying goods but claiming state benefits and looking for someone else to provide for their family and housing needs. Does the Labour Government think this is acceptable? WE DO NOT.

Ford/Visteon workers have been treated in a disgusting, callous manner, but that is only because they think they can get away with it under this Government, a Government we thought was full of promise, but is just full of promises. We are not statistics; we are REAL people with REAL children and REAL difficulties.

Please give us your support and let’s not sit and wonder who is next. Last week we were proud workers. We still have our pride but no work.

SUPPORT THE VISTEON WORKERS

Steven.

which country? leaflet coming soon!

u.s. turns out there are something like 2,900 people who work there, 1,200 are UAW.

Armchair Anarchist

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

c&p from shopstewards.net mailing list:

Please note change of plan!

Enfield Visteon convenor is refusing to go to the High Court tomorrow (Monday) morning 6 April as instructed.

He will be staying in the factory, and expects to be arrested. He is asking supporters to be there at 9.30am.

The Enfield Visteon plant is in Morson Road. The nearest public transport is Ponders End station.

Armchair Anarchist

c&p from shopstewards.net mailing list:

Please note change of plan!

Enfield Visteon convenor is refusing to go to the High Court tomorrow (Monday) morning 6 April as instructed.

He will be staying in the factory, and expects to be arrested. He is asking supporters to be there at 9.30am.

The Enfield Visteon plant is in Morson Road. The nearest public transport is Ponders End station.

Ive been getting messages from the facebook support groups that this isnt the case, and he will be attending the court hearing.

oops yeah sorry just seen message on facebook group wall - pls ignore my post :oops:

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

got it.

http://www.facebook.com/s.php?q=visteon+car+parts&init=q&sid=98161a699994b052560525ed175f3f50#/group.php?sid=0&gid=63177624913&ref=search

madashell

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So has anything been put together for distribution at other Ford plants? Merseyside AF could hand some stuff out at Halewood.

Edit: Nm, just found the leaflet by Visteon workers on here.

flaneur

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Am I also able to get contact numbers from each plant, that aren't union intermediates?

Armchair Anarchist

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

High court charges dropped according to Twitter:

Visteon enfield occupation. News from the high court. All charges against us have been dropped! Talks 2 b held in the states 2 try 2 resolve our issues

http://twitter.com/visteonworker

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The court hearing today (Monday 6 Apr) lasted only a few minutes. The main points of the agreement made by union and Visteon administrators;

An agreement was made that the (potentially imprisonable) charges against Unite convenor Kevin Nolan and others would be dropped.

The union gave an undertaking that the plant would be vacated by Thursday. But the actual case was 'Visteon against Persons Unknown' - so the judge asked what validity could be given by the Unite union officials for the compliance of these Persons Unknown with any undertaking. The answer was that as the occupiers are members of Unite they could be expected to abide by whatever the union negotiates. Presumably as part of the interim deal, Visteon did not today seek an injunction against against all the occupiers, which could have been used as intimidation by threatening legal sanctions against those refusing to obey.

Visteon already, in a separate case, have secured a possession order for the factory but gave an undertaking not to use it while negotiations are ongoing. Nolan will fly with a leading Unite official to the US to negotiate at a meeting on Wednesday.

BUT - as was revealed tonight at a predictably tedious SWP-organised Visteon support meeting - a Unite official verified that the US negotiations will be with Visteon, not with Ford. The workers' demands have always been that Ford should honour the redundancy deals that workers signed up for when they were originally employed by Ford, and which they were promised would be honoured when Visteon took over. But if Ford are not even involved in the US negotiations, how can that demand possibly have a chance of being met? Even if Visteon wanted to honour it they presumably can't make promises on behalf of Ford. From the start of the occupation, Ford has maintained that any obligations they had to the workers are in the past. This thorny question was put to the Unite official but the SWP chair ensured - by pretending it would be responded to later - that it received no answer. Nor did a question asking the truth of rumours that production at Visteon Southampton was now hampered by shortage of components parts. That kind of practical reflection on possible strategy would have taken precious time away from the empty feel-good Party-line speechifying, telling the Party faithful what they want to hear. (One or two other non-party persons spoke from the floor, eg from Harringay Solidarity Group; some Visteon workers also spoke and gave useful accounts of their recent experiences.)

Though the union cannot officially condone unlawful occupation, they are aware that it gives them added leverage in negotiations - and that they would become immediately obsolete if they didn't support and represent the occupiers. They also know that, with every plant closure, their membership is shrinking before their eyes. The US meeting is on Wednesday - and one can speculate that if an acceptable deal is not reached and the occupiers decide to reject it and stay (thereby either coming into possible conflict with their union or maybe being given an unofficial nod of approval) then an eviction could begin soon after. Or the workers may decide to leave on Wednesday or Thursday. They received much encouragement today from various supporters to stick it out.

PartyBucket

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Members of Organise! attended a rally today at the occupied Visteon plant. A march to the factory was applauded through the gates by the occupying workers, and the rally was held in one of the large workshops:

One steward from the factory made a point of coming to as many individuals as he could to shake their hand and thank us personally for our support.

As well as workers reps themselves (who stated at length that they were 'overwhelmed' and 'humbled' by the support that they had received and were still receiving), the meeting was addressed by Jimmy Kelly, regional director, UNITE, Jennifer McCan (a Sinn Fein MLA), and Alex Atwood of the SDLP.

Obviously anarchists will take the words of local politicians with a sizeable pinch of salt. And its not long ago that Jimmy Kelly seemed prepared to let two protesting airport shop stewards starve themselves to death in front of Transport House in protest at how TGWU had sabotaged their industrial action. Its the determined action by the workers themselves that will win this struggle. On the other hand, the workers seem happy to have their support.

The workers themselves say they are still determined to stay put for as long as it takes to win their demands.

Bit here from the local news...if youre eagle eyed you'll spot the Organise! banner

Heres the only other pic I took that wasnt spoilt by the pissing rain:

MT

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

any news about negotiations results?

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The occupation at Enfield is over since noon today - with details of a hinted deal not being made public until Tuesday. The union pursuaded workers to end the occupation before they even know what any deal is.

jesuithitsquad

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jesus. are you serious?

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes.

Skips

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thats abit crap.

MT

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i think it is pretty understandable in a workplace where unionists were activity and respected. to agree with such step you need a lot of respect, i would say. still, it is tactically quite bitter end. i am curious about the deal.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's a union sellout 100%. It seems unlikely that there's any deal at this moment (cos nothing's being made public after all) and the workers now have no leverage for any deal that may or may not transpire next week. IMO the union basically didn't wanna get fined and have their organisers in court so they agreed to assist Visteon in getting the workers out of the factory.

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One supporter's thoughts;

Enfield Ford/Visteon occupation ends with no conclusion...

The occupation was an inspiration for many - the spirit of the workers who refused to submit to being blatantly robbed by their bosses seemed to be what many had been waiting for, for far too long - the early possible signs of a resurgence of class struggle. Now that the occupation is ended without any clear victory in sight, some reflection is needed on the strengths and weaknesses of what has happened. It is always easy to be wise after the event, and necessary to be careful not to forget who initiated this struggle and took the risks. Any criticisms are as much of ourselves as supporters as of the occupiers. Still, we'll never get very far in developing our struggles if we don't reflect on where we went wrong and how we all might do things better next time.

The union pursuaded the workers to end the occupation today (Thursday Apr 9th) without any details of the rumoured deal being made known to them. They are told all will be revealed on Tuesday. The obvious question is - why then not wait until Tuesday to decide whether to leave the factory? There will be different answers from different interested parties. Some workers may say they are tired from constant occupation and/or that they have been pursuaded/pressured by the union that the bosses have insisted the occupation must end to guarantee the unspecified possible deal. The union may also claim that there could be legal penalties for failing to comply with the undertaking given in court on Monday to leave the factory by noon today. But none of this appears very convincing or in the workers' interest; they have surrendered their greatest bargaining asset, the possession of the plant, its machinery and stock. So the negotiations restart on Tuesday from a weakened position for the workers. The picketing that is planned to replace the occupation will be less effective in preventing repossession of Visteon property. And legal threats can probably be applied to enforce restrictions on picketing activity too.

The rough conditions in the factory shouldn't be underestimated, but another few days might have made all the difference to the outcome that may determine the workers' long-term financial future. (The Ford pension fund is already 100s of millions in the red.) It had already been suggested that a rota system could've been set up, with help from supporters, to ease the strain of manning the occupation.

The union may claim that the undertaking they gave in court on Monday - that the occupation would end by noon today - left them open to legal penalties; but even the judge queried if they could guarantee the obedience of the occupiers. One would think that all the union would've needed to do to protect themselves is to say that they had made an effort to pursuade the occupiers to leave. The occupiers themselves could have stayed with no legal sanctions hanging over them other than a standard possession order common in squatting cases. The agreed undertaking with Visteon was that they would not seek possession while negotiations continue. Visteon - and the union - made that conveniently obsolete by agreeing to postpone revealing any details of the deal until Tuesday (if there even is any deal). One can speculate that if a really satisfactory deal was on offer the union would already be shouting it from the rooftops.

The union and the left have already begun to claim this struggle as a victory on the grounds that it forced the company to the negotiating table and that it has inspired other workers. These are partial truths, though any real assessment would have to be made after any deal is sealed. But the fact that the workers have been maneuouvred by the union into a vulnerable position where they could easily be screwed is something not to be glossed over, as the left will want to. This false optimism is only a means of repressing reflection on limits and strengths of what has happened, and a recipe for a repeat of the same errors in the future.

In the final meeting of occupiers no real opposition was expressed to the union's direction to walk out. This despite some occupiers in earlier conversation expressing a desire to carry on until a decent deal is struck. The same union convenors, who in the beginning had said they and the other occupiers would never leave until a satisfactory deal was agreed, were now obliged to convince the workers they must leave with nothing guaranteed, only rumours of a possible mysterious deal to come. Some in the meeting voiced serious criticisms of the union for keeping them in the dark about developments and not giving enough support to the occupation, but most were by now either relieved or resigned to walking out. The union's authority to ultimately decide the fate of the workers was not challenged. Early on in the occupation, when it was mentioned that the union might pressure an end to the occupation against workers' wishes, a couple of workers replied "ah, but we are the union", as if the workers' collective voice could control the union structure. But once negotiations were organised by officials - on the other side of the world - and the whole process becomes remote and secret from the workers in the hands of specialists, they become dependent not on what they know, but on what they're told. And we know from long experience that the union hierarchy has its own vested interests to protect that often don't coincide with that of the workers.

As the occupiers came out, the SWP - never ones to miss an opportunist photo-opportunity - swamped the crowd with their placards and chanted 'the workers united will never be defeated'. Under the circumstances, this had a hollow and ironic ring. It began to feel, as nearly every strike has in the past 20+ years - like one more predictable stitch up by union bureaucrats - more interested in helping Nu Labour manage capitalism in crisis than feeling the need to win even modest gains for workers. Even if a passable deal is struck next week, one could see the ending of the occupation as unnecessarily risky and bad strategy for the workers and an unsatisfactory capitulation to pressure from both Visteon and union bosses.

But it is often awkward to stick one's neck out; given the general identification with the union, many supporters felt sensitive about being openly critical of the union and its underlying agenda, for fear of being seen to be divisive. But at the end of the day it's no good repressing these criticisms - or glossing them over for the sake of some image of unity - when only the explicit recognition of these realities may prevent defeat.

It was a real contrast to see how much energy and resources went into the organising of the G20 protests compared to how much support the Visteon occupation was given. This is partly an indication of the difference in priority, for some, given to activist protest on the one hand and class struggle on the other - and partly that many useful G20 resources had already returned to their sources outside London. It is only now that the union - as the occupation ends - provided a caravan, brazier, toilets etc.

Documents uncovered by Visteon workers at Basildon suggest that closures have been planned for several years with the intention of restarting production with cheaper labour - and that the creation of spin off companies like Visteon is part of a long-term strategy to restructure and trim away the less profitable parts of the car industry. So the lessons and outcome here are important for whoever is next in line for the chop.

24hr picketing will continue, and a Ford/Visteon Supporters Group has been set up.

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This was a response to the comments above;

d'accord. i guess we have to answer the question why workers did not dare to stay inside despite the union advice. there is the personal-moral element: the state threatened kevin, our rep and work-mate, and the union got him out by agreeing that we would leave (if that is actually true is a different question). there is the 'organic union corruption' element: we managed to get good lawyers and we flew your mechanic to a meeting with the big-wigs to the big apple - now how can you not collaborate with us by following our advice?! the legal question is such a complex and threatening thing, it seems to need specialists to understand it, either in form of well-paid lawyers or in form of semi-professional squatter advisors. the main support by the 'anarchist' left was 'specialised', e.g. in form of computer technical support, or media contacts or legal advise. may be a focus on 'how to make decisions in bigger groups, how to spread information more equally" would have been more fruitful than getting bogged down with all the legal stuff.

it was so obvious how the relation of the occupiers with their occupation changed during the week. at the beginning even kevin would refer the invited journalist to the security guards at the main gate in order to ask for permission to enter the factory. the next day, after some back and forth with the security guards the workers just pushed open the gates, and a dozen of scruffy anarchist could enter the plant. the union's decision to declare that the 'unknown legal person' in court are 'unite members' changed the atmosphere: outsiders had to leave the plant, in the end there was only X allowed to stay inside (because he has been inside right from the first minute), but during the meeting with the union official wednesday night even he had to stay outside.

on top of the legal attack there is the state in form of the job centre starting to individualise people. all workers get individual letters, during the last days they had to appear at the job centre, filling out their first ever dole claim, they have to sort out their mortgages. no attempt to undermine this form of decomposition as 'unemployed'.

most pressing unanswered question relate to the material power: what about southampton not having enough parts to continue production? what about the rumors that visteon want to open a shadow company and keep production in the uk, may be even inside the plant in enfield? what about the plan to shift some of the machines to berlin? what is the situation at the visteon enfield suppliers, one of them 3M, the company where workers in France boss-napped the management only some weeks ago? what is actually behind the rather empty promise of the ford workers reps to black visteon parts - what are Ford workers willing to do? without being able to answer these questions it will be difficult to give workers 'better advice'.

in france there was an attempt to transform some of the factories in struggle against closures into something like nods for wider discontent against job cuts, e.g. by holding a struggle conference of workers affected by job cuts in one of the plants. if, for example, some city cleaners and sacked call centre workers would have started to link their situation with the one in enfield, it could have bridged the (geographical) gap to the 'London' class situation.
the question now is whether we can encourage the workers to develop a more collective way to deal with the probably pathetique outcome of the tuesday negotiations...

this was posted on wsws today, quite good report about a factory occupation in france. i will print it out and take it along to the rally tomorrow...

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/apr2009/occu-a10.shtml

---------

On the question of how informed people were, a quote from Newsline;
"Bob Kiff, a retired Visteon worker, said: ‘I was a convenor here for seven years. My wife worked here for 34 years. The struggle has gone reasonably well but I’m not impressed with union leaders Simpson and Woodley. Today’s the last day of the occupation. They sent two junior officials who wouldn’t answer any questions. ..."

off the hook

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

...except the union were even more spineless than is suggested by the "supporter's thoughts". their original offer of legal advice to the workers was to meet up half an hour before the court hearing on Monday. rumours abound that "pressure" from elsewhere was put on Unite to do the decent thing and give legal support to the workers. the threat of outside lawyers flying in and taking over led to them relenting, and a legal meeting was set up just before the 11th hour, on Sun pm.

as for the union providing "a caravan, brazier, toilets": unless we're talking about different caravans and loos, the caravan belongs to one of the workers, the toilets were provided free of charge by a local portaloo company and the brazier, well, it's the workers who have been spending most of the day scouting for wood (and threatened with arrest as a result) - but maybe the union provided the bin to burn it in.

On another point though, the criticism of G20ers seems a little unfair. The news of the occupation came as people were already congregating in the city (last Wed), and any plans were pretty much underway. I don't think it's about priorities. I think it's about what came first. Who expected a factory occupation (apart from, possibly, Visteon UK - their timing to bury the news couldn't have been better)? By the end of April 1st, most activists from a range of political backgrounds were pretty drained - class warriors or not. Expecting anyone to do a full day at, or outside, the factory the next day is expecting a lot. Burnt out brothers and sisters will not make a movement that can sustain itself.

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for your clarifications, off the hook. Trying to find out what's going on has been pretty haphazard since the occupation began, including for the occupiers. There's plenty the union haven't wanted to be known and nobody really challenged that monopoly.

The occupation's been going for about 10 days now, and I doubt there's ever been much more than 300 people outside the factory, including workers, family and friends, and SWP. In comparison with the thousands at G20, not all of whom, it's true, live in London; but many of whom are not 'class warriors' either and reject such an outlook. So I think the "priority" comment is fair.

Ret Marut

Thanks for your clarifications, off the hook. Trying to find out what's going on has been pretty haphazard since the occupation began, including for the occupiers. There's plenty the union haven't wanted to be known and nobody really challenged that monopoly.

The occupation's been going for about 10 days now, and I doubt there's ever been much more than 300 people outside the factory, including workers, family and friends, and SWP. In comparison with the thousands at G20, not all of whom, it's true, live in London; but many of whom are not 'class warriors' either and reject such an outlook. So I think the "priority" comment is fair.

I agree with the priority thing but there have been people busy responding to the other "big story" last week which was the death of Ian Tomlinson. This and the police violence have been a focuss of several demonstrations on April 2nd and April 4th - both of which were also big calls for support for Enfield.

Unfortunately I didn't have time due to work/family issues to make it up to Enfield (or any of the G20 solidarity demos) however as there is a recognition of two poles of the movement - one focussed on "Activism" the other focussed on "Class Struggle" (I think the divide is much more complex than this anyhow) - the question should be of how those that say they are involved in class struggle politics have managed to build up the networks, resources, organisation and mobilisation capacities needed to support these situations. After many many years of apparent involvement the question for me is what has "that side" of the movement developed as a mechanism of support.

And just to note, politically I support everything that Ret Marut has written in relation to the struggle at Enfield especially the critical nature against the Trade Unions. But like I said, not having time myself to get involved has been frustrating.

cheers

A

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks, raw. If, as may be the case, more occupations occur then as a start it would be useful if such basic resources as a tent/marquee and tea-making equipment were available at short notice for supporters and pickets. That would make any further forms of organisation easier. ASS have also been asked to produce a legal guide for workplace occupiers, which would have saved a lot of fear and confusion in the beginning at Enfield.

Caiman del Barrio

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just got texted the following:

THE THIRST guerrilla gig @ Visteon factory occupation 1pm Tuesday 14 April @ Morson Road, Ponders End, EN3 4TN - musical solidarity to help fight the global recession.

Steven.

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. the 17 workers who weren't laid off have been asked to show up for work.

Also on the Tuesday is a job fair for the sacked workers, which is either 10 a.m.-12 noon or 12 noon-2 p.m., so if people can get down there to bulk up pickets please do.

Supporters are also needed to help with picket duty from 6:30 p.m.-6:30 a.m. from now until Tuesday. Shifts start at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m..

Meeting Point:

Meet half an hour before shift at the Falcon pub, 115 South Street, EN3 4PX (by Ponders End station, opposite Greggs) and go down together as the supporters group.

If you can't meet at the Falcon pub beforehand, or are late for your shift, when you do turn up can you let them know you are from Supporters group and rotaed on to do a shift."

Work Shirker

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We need to get as many of us as possible up there for 6am Tuesday before the 17 turn up for work at gate 2. The first train leaves Liverpool Street at 5.42am and gets in at 5.59am.

Work Shirker

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Me again..Just want to pick up on Ret’s comment about the thousands at G20 compared to at Visteon / peoples’ priorities...out of the 10,000 there in total, my guess would be that there were at least as many class-based folk (of different persuasions) as not; but those who have developed the best skills and resources at organising practical stuff , EG, such as the brilliant facilities at Climate Camp ( and, as Raw say, the networks, resources, organisation and mobilisation capacities needed for support) are largely not.. but that doesn’t mean to say the ‘two sides’ are so separate

RTS was such a bridge back in the 90’s–see this report from Organise! in 1996 (way after I’d left btw) on RTS linking up with the Liverpool Dockers: “Monday's picket of the main dock gates was the pivot of the entire weekend. Many comrades, again anarchists in the forefront alongside the magnificent "Reclaim the Streets" people were up and out at the crack of dawn, well awake before the dozy cops, to sneak into the dockyards occupying dockshed rooftops and high gantry cranes. The bravery and agility of the R.T.S. people was an inspiration to the other 600 or so of us on the picket at the dock entrance. They waved banners and flags all day long at the heavy handed, lobotomised cops who were pushing and shoving with unnecessary force into the massed picket. Cops provoked 36 arrests by the end of the day including dockers shop stewards, but mainly nicking Reclaim the Streets, who as a group gave overwhelming support and life to the huge protest throughout the day and weekend”.

RTS doesn’t exist anymore - but the people and the will to link up the ‘activists’ with class struggles still does, to block roads to stop movement of machinery; bring facilities for support; use networks to mobilise numbers etc... I feel optimistic that if Visteon-Ford stuff continues and we see more occupations etc as more and more people get laid off, that impetus will get put into practice again.

jesuithitsquad

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i think the g20 v. visteon conversation is incredibly cogent. of course one wouldn't expect the reformists et al to take up arms over a factory occupation, but one would expect self-professed class-struglists to be all over something like this.

and yet it just doesn't bear out: a quick search of another oft-mentioned site's forums show visteon mentioned in exactly 7 posts-- initiated by frequent posters here--whereas there are hundreds of posts about g20.

in hind sight, all the shit you guys got in the build up to g20 is hilarious.

pegleg

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just read some of the document posted to me by the Administrators re pensions.
Seems VES protected their employees by separating from the main fund 13/02/09 ! ( Doc posted in Library - am new to this - learning how to post ! ).
Also seeking help whether to send form RP1 or wait till Tuesday's announcement.

JoeMaguire

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

raw

Unfortunately I didn't have time due to work/family issues to make it up to Enfield (or any of the G20 solidarity demos) however as there is a recognition of two poles of the movement - one focussed on "Activism" the other focussed on "Class Struggle" (I think the divide is much more complex than this anyhow) - the question should be of how those that say they are involved in class struggle politics have managed to build up the networks, resources, organisation and mobilisation capacities needed to support these situations. After many many years of apparent involvement the question for me is what has "that side" of the movement developed as a mechanism of support.

What does that question even mean?

I had chance on the weekend to swing by the Ian Tomlinson commemoration and then later getup North London for a leafleting and collection session that was being organised for the visteon workers. The two are worlds apart in terms of how anarchists are orientating themselves to the class and prioritising tasks IMO. I can remember only the other year Blackdwarf was at a meeting which had alot of key London activists and organises and he raised the issue of supporting workers struggles, and it was followed by an uncomfortable silence, says it all really.

october_lost

raw

Unfortunately I didn't have time due to work/family issues to make it up to Enfield (or any of the G20 solidarity demos) however as there is a recognition of two poles of the movement - one focussed on "Activism" the other focussed on "Class Struggle" (I think the divide is much more complex than this anyhow) - the question should be of how those that say they are involved in class struggle politics have managed to build up the networks, resources, organisation and mobilisation capacities needed to support these situations. After many many years of apparent involvement the question for me is what has "that side" of the movement developed as a mechanism of support.

What does that question even mean?

I had chance on the weekend to swing by the Ian Tomlinson commemoration and then later getup North London for a leafleting and collection session that was being organised for the visteon workers. The two are worlds apart in terms of how anarchists are orientating themselves to the class and prioritising tasks IMO. I can remember only the other year Blackdwarf was at a meeting which had alot of key London activists and organises and he raised the issue of supporting workers struggles, and it was followed by an uncomfortable silence, says it all really.

To explain, I don't see the fact that others who call themselves anarchists "do other things" as the only problem. There are many people involved (or atleast promoting) class struggle politics who need to build these resources rather than rely on the climate camp/activists or whoever for infrastructure. Thats why it is a good idea to set-up this London Solidarity Group who will prepare infrastructure for situations like visteon.

I prefer to take any continious debate on these issues somewhere else October_Lost as it will derail the thread. If you feel the need then create a seperate thread go ahead and we can discuss other issues, if not then no worries.

Raw

back2front

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I know I've said this before but rather than trying to continually find divisions between activists and class struggle anarchists, wouldn't discussion on how to draw the two together be more appropriate? Might it be, for example, that activists are going at what they see as the root of capitalism itself (G8/G20/IMF etc) while class struggle anarchists are confined to tackling the branches (symptoms of capitalism) by small scale local actions?

Might it be that lifestylist anarchists (as activists are often dismissed as) often don't understand that struggle comes from the bottom up and confrontation neither bothers the state per se and distracts support from events on the ground such as wild cat actions, which if the right conditions could be cultivated, could escalate into something far more promising?

Or might it be suggested that supporting a strike for better conditions for workers merely slaps the back of reformism while bosses remain on their thrones? The problem might be semantical or it is probably more likely to be an interpretation of what anarchism means. You'll find that many of the anarcho-punk fraternity for example got their anarchy off the back of a record cover, though not always. Or you'll find some ancient bearded lefty arguing about Spain 1936 and quoting from dusty tomes by Bakunin or Stirner as if this is going to have young people (the backbone of struggle) quaking with excitement.

I accept that to build a movement it is better to find areas of common agreement between disparate groups and finds ways of encouraging solidarity. The French tabloid La Monde reported that there was a black bloc army estimated 7000 strong at the recent protests in Strasbourg. The will is certainly therebut it becomes a question of how to utilise it to best advantage.

back2front

Might it be, for example, that activists are going at what they see as the root of capitalism itself (G8/G20/IMF etc) while class struggle anarchists are confined to tackling the branches (symptoms of capitalism) by small scale local actions?

The problem is that such an analysis would be part of the problem. As if summit meetings - which are essentially PR exercises and photo ops - are the "root" of capitalism while the workplace - the point of production and exploitation - is merely a "branch".

raw

To explain, I don't see the fact that others who call themselves anarchists "do other things" as the only problem. There are many people involved (or atleast promoting) class struggle politics who need to build these resources rather than rely on the climate camp/activists or whoever for infrastructure. Thats why it is a good idea to set-up this London Solidarity Group who will prepare infrastructure for situations like visteon.

Good stuff, a similar group has just been set up in Merseyside for the same purpose.

Steven.

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

like raw says, please do not post any further comments on this discussion here. this thread is for discussion of the visteon dispute only, cheers.

MT

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

any details of the deal someone?

flaneur

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No news of the deal, but just heard one worker has crossed the picket, and a manager turned up but was chased away.

Money and people to picket constantly are required, so if anyone can do either, send their cheques to HSG at HSG, PO Box 2474, London, N8, or put your name down on the rota here.

Work Shirker

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No confirmed reports but we've heard that Visteon only offered 90 days pay at the negotiations yesterday, which the workers are saying is not enough. Not sure at this stage what they want to do next though -no more Unite/Visteon talks currently planned...

varlet

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the deal:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8002239.stm

The union representing former workers at Visteon has rejected an offer of cash payments by the firm's US owners.

Visteon Corporation has said most employees would receive a cash payment equivalent to 16 weeks pay.

Workers in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield have been protesting after being laid off by the firm, which has gone into administration in the UK.

A Unite union spokesman called the offer "derisory" and that it added "insult to injury."

Commenting on the new offer, Visteon Corporation said as well as the immediate cash payment: "Over time additional payments would be made increasing their total severance package to the approximate amounts they would have received under their most recent contract."

...

varlet

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the situation at enfield today (from the visteon support group e-list):

'mood is angry, the 90 days offer is a kick in the teeth, but also a boost in determination. workers decided to barricade the main gate with four heavy parts-containers and fill them with remaining parts. the security guards called the cops, five cars turned up, but atmosphere remained cool. rumours are that the visteon enfield convenor won't take part in the upcoming negotiations, but that is unconfirmed. support from some belfast guys at the picket was good. given the negotiation results, the unknown next negotiation dates and the visit of managers and contractors at/in the plant should mean that they will try to get stuff out soonish...'

Work Shirker

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"FORD VISTEON SOLIDARITY GATHERING/RALLY
SATURDAY 18th APRIL - 11am

At the Enfield Factory, Morson Rd (Gate 5), EN3 4NQ - nr Ponders End train station, Enfield [The plant is 5mins walk across the footbridge, southwards down the main road and turn left into Morson Rd]

Following the insulting and unacceptable offer from Visteon this week the sacked workers are stepping up their 24/7 picket of the Enfield factory. The Belfast and Basildon Visteon workers have also rejected the offer. Now more than ever they need support and solidarity for their decision to continue their struggle for justice.

Come along to find out what is happening at the factory and what people can do to help step up the campaign.
The Fight Goes On!
Gathering/Rally called by the Ford Visteon Workers Support Group".

rottweiler

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are there any ideas about what the bosses next move might be? I wonder how the state is thinking how it should handle this as this struggle is clearly going to influence other workers in the UK. Will the government put some pressure on the company to resolve the stand-off or just wade-in and enforce asset-stripping?

Steven.

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, the question about the government is interesting. They certainly won't want to encourage this sort of thing. But also they probably wouldn't want to send in riot police to forcibly evict people.

I'd be interested to know more about what happened in Basildon, where the police did forcibly evict people, but it didn't attract much media coverage. I saw one report which said that police moved in hard to evict the workers because they were smashing machinery in the factory, rather than just occupying it. I don't know if there is any truth to that. Does anyone have any more information?

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I heard that some wrecking went on in the factory - apparently Basildon had no stock or machinery of much value to the company in the plant, so that was probably the easiest way of hurting the company in the short term. Then the riot cops came and I guess the choice was either leave or get nicked for criminal damage.

Work Shirker

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sat 25 April National Day of Action to support the Ford-Visteon workers. Supporters Gathering/Rally at 11am at the Enfield plant (Gate 5) before moving off for actions. At 5pm there will be a showing of the Visteon documentary at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1

Choccy

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's no one's name on the court summons though is there? It's just 'visteon workers' I heard.

Choccy

There's no one's name on the court summons though is there? It's just 'visteon workers' I heard.

'The Occupiers'.
Not sure if they plan to attend court or not.

Choccy

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah right cool

back2front

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8010140.stm

back2front

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8010140.stm

Me, Notch and Deezer went up earlier. The fella Deezer was chatting to told us about the adjounrnement til Friday. The workers' resolve is still strong though :)

PartyBucket

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We just paid a very brief visit to the gates of the Belfast plant, despite the impending court action the workers are still determined to win what they set out for.
They are now into their 3rd week of occupation, day 22.

PartyBucket

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Paid a visit to the Belfast factory tonight, workers are determined as ever...

Steven.

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't have time to get the source right now, but read that Ford have agreed to go to the table, pending workers calling off a planned 30-strong picket of Fords Bridgend plant.

Choccy

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

it's from Enfield Plant News - the pickets' bulletin, No.3‏

PartyBucket

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Myself and Deezer just made a very quick visit to the Belfast plant; workers at the gates told us that discussions are ongoing regarding the latest offer that has been made to the workforce. Probably will be some news tomorrow as to whether it will be accepted or whether the occupation will continue.

JoeMaguire

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Heard after a mass meeting that the redundancy package is much better than Fords offer but no mention of a pension. More news forthcoming

Red Marriott

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The picket of KPMG offices went well; sunny day, 50 or so people, leaflets given out, small mobile sound system. Then some workers turned up from the Mayday march and spoke and ranted against the corruption and injustice of their situation. The new offer is being considered and will be better or worse depending on various factors; eg, how long you've worked for Ford/Visteon, how much left to pay on your mortgage, your age, chances of finding new employment etc. No one seems sure if the vote will be dealt with as a vote of all 3 plants - or as 3 separate votes with separate outcomes. (As is common in long-running disputes, those who've sat it out at home passively waiting for a settlement ,without being involved in the occupation or picketing, now reappear to see what's on offer and will be most likely to vote for a quick settlement.) Here's a report from a supporter who visited Enfield today;

"Just come back from the factory and the mood is very good amongst the workers. The gut feeling of the workers I have talked to is that they will probably accept the deal they have been offered, but the meeting to discuss this and the vote will happen between 2pm and 4pm. Basildon are also meeting at 2pm, but nobody I spoke to seemed to know when Belfast were meeting. I haven't seen any paperwork but the deal seems to be a very good redundancy payment for the workers (and it varies depending on how long they have workers at the plant). As for the pensions, it seems that there is a government pension protection scheme (I know nothing about it and the workers I spoke to are a bit vague on it as well). As far as I understand it, a part of the workers pension payments get protected by this scheme, so when the workers reach 65 there will be some of their private pension plan available to them. I have heard figures of between 60% and 90% of what they would have got through their Visteon/Ford scheme. I am sure others on this list can give a better explanation than me on this scheme. So, it seems, part of the pension element is safe. The other minus bit is that the Visteon workers existing pension plan let them retire at 58. With this government protection plan, it doesn't kick in until workers reach 65. So, workers will lose on the pension side (some more than others) but all seem to be offered more redundancy payments than they would have got under the Visteon redundancy scheme (if Visteon were still in business). I hope all this makes sense.

All the workers I spoke to agree, the pickets and solidarity actions planned need to go on, and the pickets will continue until all the paperwork is signed and cheques are in workers bank accounts - so at least for another week. Supporters are still needed on the picket lines over the weekend especially early morning. The workers know nothing is final until the money is in their hands."

Latest news from Enfield - deal accepted;
"the vote was 178 to 5 and Basildon was 159 to 0.
Belfast vote on Sunday. They all see it as a huge victory and feeling
is strong. But Belfast ?
The picketting continues however as solidarity for Belfast."

MT

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It would be interesting to see the contents of the final deal.
Btw, does this mean that this voting was about the same deal or each factory had different deals. I am just curious if Belfast will vote on the same thing.

oisleep

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bit in the ft today about it - seems like a fairly decent outcome if true (obviously ignore the stuff about unite)

Unite said yesterday that it had secured more generous pay-out terms for 610 workers made redundant at the UK unit of Visteon, the auto parts supplier.

The trade union said former employees of Ford Motor would receive the statutory redundancy pay Visteon had offered them, plus 52 weeks' pay, augmented by a 5.2 per cent increase.

Remaining workers with shorter service would receive 10 times what they would have received in statutory redundancy pay, Unite said.

The deal followed the occupation of two of Visteon's plants by workers and the picketing of the third after the US company's main UK unit entered receivership in late March.

Unite also threatened to picket plants and dealers owned by Ford, which spun off Visteon in 2000, and pressed its case for bigger pay-outs in meetings with both companies' management in the US and the UK. Workers at Visteon's two English plants voted for the deal yesterday.

Staff were due to vote on it at the company's plant in Belfast tomorrow.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5fa46492-36b2-11de-af40-00144feabdc0.html

posi

13 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Report on developments in the Visteon struggle up to Sunday, focussing on the role of the union, and changing attitudes to the union among workers -

http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/the-struggle-at-visteon-the-union-and-the-development-of-class-consciousness/

Choccy

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fuck shit one
His co-workers were quick to react last week, any sign of something similar?

Not yet- but apparently there was massive intimidation of the workforce today “foremen going around the shop floor threatening workers with the sack if they dared walk out in support of Rob. The bosses even went to the ludicrous lengths of removing the door from Rob’s trade union office”...

Choccy

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fuckin hell, that's mental :(

syndicalist

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How accurate is this story?

Subj: Belfast Visteon workers discuss the deal - Socialist Worker
Date: 5/6/2009 8:25:34 AM Eastern Standard Time

New article posted on Socialist Worker websiteBelfast Visteon workers discuss the deal
Ford-Visteon workers in Belfast have been occupying their plant for over five weeks after they were sacked with no notice and no redundancy pay at the end of March

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17854

Red Marriott

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've heard that the deal is conditional on the workers ending occupation and pickets before they'll receive any money. So it may become a bit of a chess game.

petey

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

money put first into an escrow?

pegleg

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reuters just announced Ford assumes $163 million asset-based loan for Visteon!
Taking back control?
Visteon UK Pensions (ex Ford? open for further discussion?)

http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN1526837320090515

varlet

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Visteon ex-workers will end the picket of their factory tomorrow. It is part of the accepted deal that all three plants (Belfast, Basildon, Enfield) have to be vacated tomorrow Monday 18 May by 12.45pm.

I believe it also says on a letter they all received (stating how much money they are going to get) that there needs to be 5 clear days following the end of the occupation/pickets before Visteon actually pays the money. As they all have this in writing, the workers i spoke to this morning seemed pretty confident that the deal was going to be honoured.

So most workers will be coming tomorrow in the morning to clear all the tents and stuff, and will officially bring the picket to an end at 12.45pm.

This is the end of a major stage in their struggle, which seems to be generally regarded as victorious.
The workers i spoke to anyway said they got more than they were expecting, but then this may vary depending on people's personal situations or contracts.
The other stage in the struggle is the pension, but it seems that most of this will be dealt with through a legal process.

The people i spoke to were also clear about one thing. Whatever they got they owe it to themselves and not the union. They initiated the struggle themselves, they kept it going, and while they were grateful and full of praise for the support they got from various groups and individuals, they were well aware that Unite have been giving them very little, if no practical help or moral support.

Red Marriott

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

At the Visteon benefit last night at Ramparts an ex-worker spoke, a 'CCR' - the group of ex-workers with different non-Ford contracts who are getting a significantly worse settlement. He expressed strong grievances on behalf of the CCRs; that the other workers were not sticking it out to get a better deal for CCRs (and that 98% of CCRs had been involved in occupation & pickets, compared to a far lower percentage of workers getting better deals, many of whom stayed at home until the deal was reached). He said there would be a meeting today(?) about this - and that there was similar feeling in Belfast. He suggested the possibility that some might insist on staying picketting/in occupation to improve the offer to CCRs, which was quite a suprise to hear. I really doubt that will happen - it would break the terms of the settlement if it did and so jeopardise payments.
But it's unfortunate that some are leaving the dispute with such hard feelings. Part of the reason for this is probably;
1) through the dispute workers didn't hold enough regular general meetings so they could insist on being fully informed of what was developing and could discuss it between themselves as a whole group. So, eg, at Enfield cliques around certain gates formed (people tending to always be picketting on the same gates), without enough contact/debate between all workers.
2) Prior to the vote, the union didn't give people a printed document of settlement terms and time enough to consider the deal, discuss and seek advice on it and what it meant for each individual and for different groups of ex-workers. This rushing through of acceptance was clearly deliberate by the union, as was the arrangement whereby Belfast voted after Enfield & Basildon.

One of the benefit organisers said; "The benefit last night made £375 and we thought it would be good to give it to the CCR's who got stitched up- either to help carry on their struggle in any way or just as a bit to help with costs, as they got the crappiest pay out. There are 30 of them at the Enfield plant so it wouldn't go that far between them but I will be at the picket/walk-out tomorrow so can talk to people there to find out what is best to do with the money

One of the visteon workers there last night was telling me that bloody Unite are getting £500 out of all the workers' payments! Obviously that money should be going to the CCR's instead; given most of them did all the hard work for the fight and Unite did jack. The person who said this was on an old Ford contract himself but totally supported the CCR's. The speech made at the benefit, by a CCR who'd been a shop steward at Enfield for a year, was really angry and upset about the way they've been left out in the cold, not getting solidarity needed from those on the better contracts. Apparently the amount needed to cover the CCR's isn't that much as there are so few of them across the plants; the deal Unite negotiated is just totally divisive- yet they're stealing £500 from each worker for it!"

So if the 610 workers pay £500 each to the union, the union profits by £305,000 - screwing every last penny out of their members while they still can. It has been rumoured that in Belfast those ex-workers on Ford contracts will each chip in a donation to give to the CCRs as partial compensation for their smaller settlement.

Edit; other workers apparently see the disparity issue differently; the CCRs are getting twice the rate of redundancy per year served than the ex ford workers and this is seen by some of the other workers as partially mitigating the fact they will receive lower payments overall.
Edit 2; though the info above about Unite taking £500 from each payment came from an ex-worker prior to receiving their settlement, apparently in fact no money was deducted by Unite.

raw

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"The benefit last night made £375 and we thought it would be good to give it to the CCR's who got stitched up- either to help carry on their struggle in any way or just as a bit to help with costs, as they got the crappiest pay out."

Fair enuff but sounds like charity to me not solidarity. I disagree with money being given to finance workers like this, it is counter-productive and builds a dependency.

The unite stuff sounds disgusting. I think having a mass picket at unite might send the message home and embarrass them. They have shown to be the bosses friend and collaborator.

a

raw

"The benefit last night made £375 and we thought it would be good to give it to the CCR's who got stitched up- either to help carry on their struggle in any way or just as a bit to help with costs, as they got the crappiest pay out."

Fair enuff but sounds like charity to me not solidarity. I disagree with money being given to finance workers like this, it is counter-productive and builds a dependency.

The unite stuff sounds disgusting. I think having a mass picket at unite might send the message home and embarrass them. They have shown to be the bosses friend and collaborator.

a

Whats your reasoning here? The (small, unfortunately) amount we raised in Manchester was to help 'finance' the workers in an important struggle, and donations to cover tough economic circumstances have always been part of solidarity. I don't think its appropriate to talk of 'dependency' with workers who have taken brave and militant action like this either.

Django

raw

"The benefit last night made £375 and we thought it would be good to give it to the CCR's who got stitched up- either to help carry on their struggle in any way or just as a bit to help with costs, as they got the crappiest pay out."

Fair enuff but sounds like charity to me not solidarity. I disagree with money being given to finance workers like this, it is counter-productive and builds a dependency.

The unite stuff sounds disgusting. I think having a mass picket at unite might send the message home and embarrass them. They have shown to be the bosses friend and collaborator.

a

Whats your reasoning here? The (small, unfortunately) amount we raised in Manchester was to help 'finance' the workers in an important struggle, and donations to cover tough economic circumstances have always been part of solidarity. I don't think its appropriate to talk of 'dependency' with workers who have taken brave and militant action like this either.

My reasoning is how a support campaign is going to finance peoples living expenses. Its impossible to do so and tends to become a form of charity rather than solidarity. This may be a non-issue in the sense that none of the workers are considering taking the money. Hopefully they will instead opt to use it for a fighting fund in the campaign or past it on to other campaigns.

Red Marriott

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

raw

sounds like charity to me not solidarity. I disagree with money being given to finance workers like this, it is counter-productive and builds a dependency.

Much of the donations have been always used for living expenses of ex-workers during the dispute - how else could they run an occupation and 24hr pickets? They have to eat! They were paid weekly by Visteon, the bosses kept them working up to the last minute knowing they wouldn't get paid their last wage packet, they have mortgages to pay etc. And some have laid out their own money for general costs to help keep the dispute going, so if they can be paid back they should be.
Forms of solidarity generally are something you have to rely on, trust others to give - so a kind of "dependency".

Ret Marut

raw

sounds like charity to me not solidarity. I disagree with money being given to finance workers like this, it is counter-productive and builds a dependency.

Much of the donations have been always used for living expenses of ex-workers during the dispute - how else could run they an occupation and 24hr pickets? They have to eat! They were paid weekly by Visteon, the bosses kept them working up to the last minute knowing they wouldn't get paid their last wage packet, they have mortgages to pay etc. And some have laid out their own money for general costs to help keep the dispute going, so if they can be paid back they should be.
Forms of solidarity generally are something you have to rely on, trust others to give - so a kind of "dependency".

thanks for the clarification.

a

PartyBucket

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Belfast workers ended their occupation today and walked out of the factory in order of years served.
For those waiting outside the gates to see them out, it was as one person commented, more like waiting for a funeral to pass than a celebration.
At a buffet at a nearby hotel, speakers vowed that action will continue for their pensions, and support was urged for Rob Williams.

MT

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

what are the developments concerning workers in the factories? are the details of deals know already? i got lost what is going on now, what the solidarity group is doing and so...

Choccy

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Em, the worker at Basildon and Enfield voted to accept the deal that didn't have pensions, or shift work sorted, Belfast soon followed, the pickets in Basildon/Enfield and occupation in Belfast ended as stated above.

There are new rounds of talks due to start on pensions soon as far as I know.

varlet

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"A good number of you have expressed a desire, in fact a need to demonstrate and lobby the Visteon Pension Trustees at their meeting on Monday 1st June at Towers Perrin Office, 71 High Holborn, London WC1V 6TP. Nearest tube is Chancery Lane on the Central Line.

This is our first opportunity to show our strength and disgust at the demeaning reduction to what is our rightful pension.
We should as one voice make it clear that we expect nothing less than Ford mirrored conditions as previously promised. This location is very visible and should give maximum exposure to our concern. We will endeavour to have the national press there.

The plan is to meet at 10.00 am outside the office block and make our feelings and concerns very clear to the Trustees attending.

Please give your support, we will be there to express our disatisfaction, join us and voice your opinions at the shabby treatment by Visteon.
Bring plenty of banners to show our feelings. "

Choccy

13 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cheers Nico

Red Marriott

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I heard that at the picket mentioned by Nico above the pension trustees said they'd sent a letter to Unite about the issue but had received no reply. Unite are apparently going to be pursuing a court case (possibly 2 years long) to try to secure some kind of pension settlement. If that doesn't work there is the possibility of compensation. A Basildon ex-worker also spoke and said that - though ex-workers had been led to expect 60-90% of their pensions if compensated under the government pension provision scheme - according to his calculations ex-workers might only receive 45% of their expected pensions. It became apparent that the Unite official attending to inform people of progress with the issue knew less about the govt. scheme than the worker.