Monday, April 13, 2009

The Ford Visteon occupation

Companies going bust say they can't afford redundancy pay. But guess who are still pocketing their bonuses...?

Imagine you've worked thirty years. Thirty years, every day, honest and punctual, with an eye on the fact that, at the end of all that work, your reward would come in the form of a pension - just enough to retire comfortably.

Then one day they tell you that you're sacked. Just like that, off you go, like it's happening to thousands of agency workers up and down the country. Except that you thought you had a permanent contract with terms and conditions that include pension entitlements.

No, your bosses tell you that you've got an hour to get your coat and go and "we're sorry but haven't you heard about the crisis, we're going bust too, and you can forget about redundancy pay and even the pension you've accrued". The odds are that you'd feel a cross between furious, depressed and scared.

Also, imagine you find out that last year your boss from the same company that is going bust managed to rustle up some spare change for himself for a total of $1,341,667 as well as a staggering $8,393,607 with shares and bonuses - and that your chief executive too found enough dough to take home: $1.48 million in cash and bonuses.

This is what's happening at Visteon UK, a car component company that was outsourced by Ford in 2000 with all the assurances that the workers' terms and conditions would not suffer. More than 600 jobs are affected at the Belfast, Enfield and Basildon plants, and that is why workers have occupied the factories in protest for two weeks, earning some serious local support, until a court order forced them to end the action without a deal in sight.

Gordon Brown, in the meantime, the man who found the time to express his thoughts over Jade Goody as well as the trillions to bail out the banks, has not said a word.

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