Friday, 1 May 2009

A big win for Visteon workers and lessons for all on May Day

News arrives that the Visteon workers from Basildon, Belfast and Enfield, made redundant without notice when Visteon UK went into receivership, have scored a big win in return for their month of hard campaigning.

According to the Basildon Recorder, the 600+ workers, instead of receiving NOTHING in the way of redundancy pay, which was what they were offered at the start, have now been offered
three months pay in lieu for redundancy and 52 weeks salary. There will also be a week’s salary for every year served by workers aged 41 or under, or one-and-a-half week’s salary for every year served by workers aged over 41.
Their union, Unite, is pledged to fight on for the pensions money that many have lost and which is not part of the offer. Ballots at Enfield and Basildon plants seem overwhelmingly to have accepted the deal; a ballot at Belfast on Sunday is likely to accept as well, although there people are more likely to be worried about their chances of finding another job.

What lessons can we draw from this episode?

(1) Don't lie down and let people walk all over you, even (perhaps especially) in a recession - stand up for yourself and you might get something.

(2) Solidarity is powerful: from the start, the workers got important support and sympathy from other trade unionists and campaigners. Their threat to go to the Bridgend plant of Ford (Visteon was a spin-off from Ford, and Visteon workers were guaranteed Ford mirror contracts) to ask for solidarity action seems to have been decisive in getting Visteon and Ford to negotiate in good faith.

(3) Grassroots organisation is vital: if the workers that were immediately affected had been more organised they would not have had to rely so much on union officials who were slow, perhaps even reluctant, to mobilise in the early days.

Let's celebrate this victory. Ordinary people should not be expected to pay and pay for a crisis that they did not make. Oh, and happy 1st May: international workers' day.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

i like the deal but there is a questiom mark on how they ARE GOING TO PAY SOME PEOPLE AS THEY WERE PUT ON DAY SHIFT TOWARD THE END OF VISTEON UK SO THEY MULPILY THERE MONEYS ON DAY WORK THEY WILL LOSE A LOT OF MONEY PLEASE ASK YOUR CONVENOR /SHOP STEWARD BEFORE YOU VOTE ON SUNDAY YOU THE BELFAST PEOPLE

Anonymous said...

WHAT ABOUT MY PENSION AND HAS PREVIOS PERSON COMMENTED MAKE SURE THEY USE THREE SHIFT AS THE MULTIPLYER BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME WE WERE ON THREE SHIFT ASK YOUR CONVEYNOR OR SHOPSTEWARD BEFORE YOU VOTE FOR ACCEPTANCE BELFAST BROTHERS AND SISTERS

vickim57 said...

Thanks for those comments. Did you work for Visteon?

I do think that a period of reflection would have been a good idea rather than rushing into a ballot. What do people always tell you before, eg, signing a legal document? Read the small print!

And Ford/Visteon deserved to be made to sweat for a while after what they've put the workers through.

vickim57 said...

I like this exchange from the caring, sharing Personneltoday.com:

http://www.personneltoday.com/blogs/human-resources-news/2009/04/a-dangerous-precedent-to-be-se.html

Anonymous said...

BELFAST PEOPLE PLEASE VOTE NO PLEASE VOTE NO THERES A STICH UP I AM TELLING YOU THERES A STICH UP YOU WILL GET PAID ON DAY WORK AS YOUR MULTIPLY YOU WILL BE LOSEING ABOUT 20000 POUND ASK YOUR CONVEYNOR BEFORE YOU MAKE GREATEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE LIKE WE DID IN ENFIELD AND BASILDON