[Marxism] Laid Off Workers in N. Ireland Occupy their Factory

Jon Flanders jonathan.flanders at verizon.net
Wed Apr 1 18:32:46 MDT 2009

I think we can safely say now that there is an international trend for
factory occupations.

Jon Flanders


 Sacked workers occupy car factory

Employees are continuing their protest at a factory in west Belfast.
More than 100 workers have staged a sit-in, the Unite trade union has

Earlier, it was announced that 565 staff would go at Visteon car
components plants across the UK.

Most of the jobs have been lost with immediate effect. Two hundred jobs
will go at the Belfast factory.

KPMG said it had no alternative but to close the factory and two others
in Basildon and Enfield in England.

Administrators have been called in to the factory which is the former
Ford plant.

Visteon has a total workforce of 600 in the United Kingdom.

Unite convenor John Maguire said the workers at the plant had "been
treated disgracefully".

"We have been left with no choice but to occupy the factory to save our
jobs and to defend jobs for the people of Belfast," he said.
“ Ford have a moral responsibility to these people and they are avoiding
any responsibility ”
Davy McMurray Unite trade union

The company in the UK had been waiting to hear if Visteon in America
would continue to prop up its three plants.

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams expressed his "deep disappointment".

"Sinn Féin has been liaising closely with the management of Visteon and
with the local workforce.

"Ford are directly implicated in the future of the Belfast plant, as its
sole customer and former owner. If the local workforce is to be told
that the plant no longer has a future, Sinn Féin will insist that the
management of Ford explain this fate," he said.

Davy McMurray, regional organiser for Unite, said he understood that a
handful of workers would be kept on to run the plant down before they
too lose their jobs.

Mr McMurray said the way the job cuts were announced was "brutal."

"The administrators just came in, told them they were in administration
and their employment was terminated. These people are going to be put
out on the street tonight."

He called on Ford, as the "sole recipient" of Visteon parts, to show

'Body blow'

"Ford have a moral responsibility to these people and they are avoiding
any responsibility," he said.

He added that they should receive Ford redundancy packages."

SDLP MLA for west Belfast Alex Attwood said it is a "body blow to the

"The loss of 210 jobs, part of our much needed manufacturing base, is
not the news we want to hear," he said.

Visteon took over the Ford plant in west Belfast in 2000.

It said the remaining employees would assist the administrators in "the
orderly wind down of the business".

It added that the UK business had not been profitable "since its
incorporation in 2000" and Visteon UK's reported losses totalled £669m.

John Hansen, joint administrator, said: "The entire automotive supply
chain has been under pressure for a number of years."

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