‘We want our pensions’ – Visteon workers tell Downing Street

Angry Visteon workers demanding their pensions outside Downing Street yesterday afternoon
Angry Visteon workers demanding their pensions outside Downing Street yesterday afternoon

‘We are grateful to the union for their support today, but we have to say “We are not here for the hell of it” ’, Robert Williams ex-Visteon convenor Swansea, told 500 union members outside Unite’s union HQ in London yesterday morning.

Williams continued: ‘The union has to take Ford and Visteon to court. They have to “Walk that Walk, not just Talk that Talk”. A writ has to be served on Ford Motor company to get our pensions back not tomorrow, but now.

‘We have to get our pensions back and ensure the union is not just right behind us but is in fact leading us. We are here to upset the Ford Motor Company.

Production at Visteon’s Basildon, Enfield and Belfast Visteon plants was transferred to Eastern Europe and Asia, with the loss of 600 jobs, and huge savings to US car giant, Ford, on their £350 million pension obligations to Visteon employees.

It was only after workers in Belfast occupied the Visteon plant and refused to leave that partial concession on pensions were won.

Shouting, ‘What do we want? Pensions. How much do we want: 100 per cent. Who should pay? Ford!’, an energetic crowd headed along the pavements from Unite HQ to Downing Street to petition Pensions Minister, Angela Eagle to put pressure on Ford to pay their full pensions as agreed.

Unite’s National Officer for Motor Components, Roger Maddison wrote in his press statement: ‘Visteon cynically and deliberately planned for a year to go into administration, with the result that the pension of hard-working employees were not met by Ford which had pledged to honour their pension commitments when Visteon was spun-off.

He added: ‘Unite will pursue this through the courts if necessary, to get justice.’

Maddison apologised for joint Unite leaders Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson who did not address the demonstrators. Maddison said Simpson was in Australia gaining support for the British Airways cabin crew.