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Hundreds rally in support of Visteon workers occupation

category antrim | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Wednesday April 08, 2009 23:51author by Belfast WSM - Workers Solidarity Movement Report this post to the editors

Over 200 people marched today from Andersonstown to the factory in Finachy for a rally, which was addressed by Unite Shop Stewards Charlie Maxwell and John Maxwell, including representatives from the SDLP and Sinn Fein.
march_1.jpg

Young and old, workers and their families and trade unionists joined the march to protect the rights of Visteon/Ford workers in a display of working class solidarity and resistance. Morale and unity to beat the bosses remains strong amongst the workers with speaker after speaker highlighting the level of support from the wider community and other factory sit ins in the UK sustaining the occupation.

Over a week has passed since the occupation. In this time the sit in has been managed on a shift basis with successful family fun day for their families and various talks and debates.

Meanwhile, unions representing ford workers across the UK have confirmed they will be refusing the handling of car parts from South Africa until the dispute is resolved. This week, Basildon Visteon workers paid a visit to their former managing director’s mansion in the countryside demanding justice.

Belfast Branch secretary, Michael McGovern said: “Their message is one of defiance and workers solidarity, and steadfast in their determination to win their demands. It is time to seize the moment to prevent the bosses and politicians from making us pay for the crisis in capitalism.”

Gangster capitalists are using the global recession to undermine our working conditions which have been won through struggle, Adding: “Members of WSM took part in the rally today and have visited workers at the occupation. They have shown that we are far from powerless when we utilise the weapon of direct action. A victory for visteon workers is a victory for workers everywhere.”

Send messages of support to Davy McMurray dmcmurray@unitetheunion.com
Or text John Maguire (Unite convenor) on 07816590380

Previous article on the occupation by a wsm member
http://www.wsm.ie/news_viewer/5392

Useful link on the workers occupations
http://libcom.org/tags/visteon-occupation

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie

march2.jpg

Adressed by various trade unionists and political parties
Adressed by various trade unionists and political parties

author by Belfast WSMpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 00:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Audio recordings



audio worker_1.mp3 1.66 Mb
author by Belfast WSMpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 00:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interview



audio worker_2.mp3 4.92 Mb
author by Belfast WSMpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 00:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Audio recordings



audio worker_1_1.mp3 1.66 Mb

audio worker_2_1.mp3 4.92 Mb

audio Rally inside the plant 8.65 Mb
author by Belfast WSMpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 01:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Also BBC footage of the march
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7990210.stm



audio rally_1.mp3 8.65 Mb
author by ford prefectpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors



Two letters of support from workers at Tedrive - formerly Visteon - car plants in Germany.

Letter from Worker at Tedrive, formerly Visteon in Wuelfrath, Germany

It is good to hear from Visteon workers in England and Ireland fighting back and occupying their factories. In the Visteon plants in Wuelfrath and Dueren (West-Germany) workers have been too patient for too long...

In 2000 the former Ford plants in Wuelfrath and Dueren were outsourced to Visteon. Despite agreements with works council and unions it took only few years to deteriorate the working conditions of the former Ford workers. As early as 2003 about 400 of the 1,000 workers were employed by temp agencies. In 2006 the remaining permanent workers had to swallow a so-called restructuring agreement in order to 'save' Visteon: no christmas and holiday money for three years plus wage cuts, in total 15,000 Euro per worker within this three years period. In summer 2006 these new conditions prepared Visteon to sell the two plants to Tedrive. Dueren now focus production on power trains and Wuelfrath on steering systems, meaning that the chassis of the Fiesta manufactured in Cologne is produced elsewhere. In spring 2007 Special Situations Venture Partners II bought the Visteon plants under the name of Tedrive. Works council and unions sold this deal as a way to 'save jobs'. Tedrive new that all major order of Ford would run out by 2009, they were just in for some quick money. As it now turns out they did not pay for the companies (part-time) pension scheme either. Instead Tedrive bought another small supplier for steering systems, taking over machines and patents. Ford/Visteon/Tedrive in Wuelfrath now manufacturing steering systems for Ford Mondeo, Galaxy and S-Max and parts for Volvo and Land Rover. In November 2008 the order from the US – about 30 percent of the total production in Wuelfrath – are cancelled. 150 temp workers are sacked on the spot and 170 highly skilled permanent workers are shifted from single parts manufacturing back to assembly line production. On a company assembly on 31st of October2008 the company prepares for a final blow: 28o workers are supposed to be sacked and the remaining 288 are supposed to accept wage cuts of further 4.6 million Euro. At the same time the managements demands Sunday and holiday shifts for finishing the outstanding Ford orders! Only mild protest from the workers representative (works council). On 10th of December the company announces bankruptcy. Ford still depends on the plant in Wuelfrath, they pay for each delivery immediately – instead of the former six weekly payments. In that way Ford paid 7 million Euro in December and 6.5 million Euro in January 2009. Due to lack of investment by Tedrive the production is rather precarious now, spare parts are missing, sometimes simple things like safety gloves lack, as well. The normal shift bonus for the workers is not paid. All in all it became clear: workers have been rather patient, accepting wage cut after wage cut and job cut after job cut. Now they have double stress: Sunday shifts for last orders and the threat of near future unemployment.

Letter from another worker at Tedrive, in Germany

hello colleagues in england,

greetings in solidarity from former Ford werke ag in Germany. we have been outsourced to visteon in 2000 and sold to Orlando in May 2007, a German-Dutch investment group - so now we are employees of the Tedrive-Group. Since December 2008 some branches of the Tedrive Group are in insolvency proceedings and mass redundancies are about to happen - the rest of the workers are supposed to accept a considerable wage cut and to be thankful for the 'saved" jobs. We got to know about the factory occupations in Great Britain and we wish you best of luck. In Germany in the former Ford/Visteon plants industrial peace is being kept up and Ford is delivered in time, given that Tedrive still depends on Ford and expects a promise for long-term orders. In Germany, as well, Ford is delaying things on purpose, trying to go the way of least resistance and most likely doesn't think about saving the former Ford employees or plants - they are just interested in securing the supply chain/loyality/quality for a cheap price! don't back off - you have a lot to lose!

in solidarity, colleagues from Germany
despite the changes of names we say: once ford, always ford, because we are more than just 'former-ford-employees"!

author by Seanpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.wsm.ie/story/5418.

There are also articles drawing on previous workplace occupations including the Argentinian example of workers self-management.

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