THE News Line gives its full support to the workers at the Belfast, Enfield and Basildon Visteon plants who are fighting Visteon’s decision to sack them on the very cheap, and to ignore the official assurances given at the time that Ford sold off the plants, that they would have Ford terms and conditions of service for life.
Their strong fight for their jobs has however been weakened by the treachery of the Unite leadership, headed by Simpson and Woodley.
From the start they refused to make the occupations of the three plants an official action, and instead concentrated on weakening the occupations as much as they could.
They are desperate to prevent a massive occupation movement developing in the motor car industry despite the fact that this is the only way to fight the mass sackings taking place, and defend workers jobs, with the demand that if the employers cannot provide the jobs, the plants must be nationalised.
They have preferred to make a bloc with the Brown bankers’ government and the employers.
Unite under the leadership of Simpson and Woodley have handed £11 million of their members’ money to the Labour party despite its Tory policies.
They have also formed a block with the motor car employers and Sir Digby Jones.
They support capitalism, and have not the slightest intention of opposing the huge job losses that are taking place. Instead they are calling for short-time pay for short-time working.
On a joint platform with Lord Digby Jones, the latter was able to declare that he wanted to see a two-day week, with the government paying the short time pay required, as the bosses could not afford it.
Jones said that this was the only way that the employers could keep their plants going in the period of a slump, and he was not contradicted by Woodley or Simpson. They said that they would march with Jones in May, in ‘defence of jobs,’ ie in defence of short-time pay for short time working!
It was only natural that when the leaders of the Enfield occupation were taken to the High Court and threatened with jail if they did not end the occupation, that Simpson and Woodley intervened to end the occupation.
Instead of saying that if any worker was jailed they would call national strike action and demand a general strike, their legal team appeared in the court and pledged that the Unite union would see to it that the occupation was abandoned and take the responsibility for doing that.
Simpson then went off to the US to allegedly negotiate with Ford. The Enfield convenor Kevin Nolan accompanied him as part of the delegation.
However the negotiations were not with Ford but with Visteon.
Visteon, however, did not allow Nolan into the talks, and Simpson went into talks with Nolan waiting outside.
This must be one of the most nauseating moments in the already sordid history of the boss-loving British trade union bureaucracy.
Naturally Visteon announced that it could do nothing other than what they were doing.
Now it has been announced that Visteon is sending a team to the UK next week for discussions.
Presumably at some stage or other they will have to meet the representatives of the Basildon, Enfield and Belfast workers.
After their experiences in the last week, Visteon workers must make sure that their factory leaders attend all of the talks, and that the outcome of the talks is reported to them, before any agreement can be made.
The likelihood is that they will not get anything except a few insulting bits and pieces that are nowhere near their basic demands, that they get their jobs back on the original Ford terms and conditions.
Workers must be determined that anything less will see them them reoccupying the Basildon and Enfield plants and demanding a national demonstration, a general strike and the nationalisation of the three plants.