Workers occupy Visteon Ford car plant in Enfield, North London

Workers at a car parts manufacturing plant in Enfield, North London, have occupied their workplace. The occupation began following news that 600 workers were to lose their jobs at plants in North London, Essex and Belfast.

Photos of the Enfield occupation can be found here, while ongoing coverage is available from libcom.org.

Occupiers have issued a leaflet explaining their action and issuing demands:

We have occupied our factory Ford Visteon workers have occupied our factory since Wednesday 1st April. The previous day in a meeting lasting just 6 minutes we were told that the European company, with plants in Belfast, Basildon and Ponders End, Enfield, was going into administration and that we were to leave – without our wages being paid. Personal possessions could be collected the next day, but at 10 o’clock the factory was locked closed. Workers had already occupied the Belfast factory.

We demand what is due to us The 200 workers who are part of the Ford subsidiary want the same conditions they have always had via “mirror contracts” with the parent company. Up to now they don’t know when they will get wages due, and their pensions are to be controlled by the government Pensions Protection Fund. This means a maximum of £9,000 payout, and much reduced conditions! Some of the women and men have 40 yrs service!

The whole situation has been created for news management – announce it during the G20 and it will get buried in the media. And this is largely what’s happened. The move is to save Visteon USA money at our expense.

But unexpectedly Unite union members have taken determined action that bosses thought they had eliminated years ago.

The workers want their existing terms respected. Ford Visteon can’t be allowed to avoid their responsibility. So far they have tried legal intimidation but have even managed to mess this up.

As well as proper redundancy payments, some are suggesting that the skills of the workers who can make anything in plastic, should be used to make increasingly needed parts for green products – bike and trailer parts, solar panels, turbines, etc. Government investment in this rather than throwing money at bankers could be profitable & save jobs in the long term.

On Saturday, supporters converged for a solidarity protest with the occupiers. Today the leader of the union will be demanded to appear in court, while in Belfast, the sit-in continues and messages of support come in from around the UK and further afield. An interview with some of the occupiers and workers can be found here.

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