SP - May 2006
A message to all Visteon & Ford workers:
Unite & fight against the bosses' attacks on our jobs, wages & conditions
Unions in Visteon are giving the company and Ford an ultimatum - withdraw your threats to our jobs, pay & conditions and pensions or face the threat of industrial action.
Ford of Europe made $150million profit last year, it costs them $20million every day an assembly plant stops. Visteon workers, despite 6 years of attacks, still have enormous power.
Their message to Ford is "You spun us off to increase your profits, now you have to pay up to keep your plants going." Their message to Ford workers is "If we don't win, you'll be next." Already, Ford are warning their workforce that their pensions are "unaffordable". Ford might think that transferring Swansea workers back to Bridgend is a solution but not everyone can get on the lifeboat. Ford's guarantee at spinoff was for Visteon plants to be sourced with work. Now they are reneging on this agreement to locate to low cost countries.
Ford and Visteon work hand in glove to attack our conditions
Last September, Visteon UK bosses informed unions that the global corporation had 'dealt' with the biggest lossmaker, the US with the transfer of some 23 plants back under the control of Ford (Visteon was the 'spin-off' of Ford's component manufacturing in 2000) and that they were turning their attention on the next biggest, the UK.
A series of negotiations followed between the two sides but were adjourned when the union side insisted that the company guarantee the final salary pension fund along with the Ford 'mirrored' and Visteon contract pay and conditions. This adjournment has lasted since the end of October. However, on March 25th the company informed the unions that they were giving notice that talks would resume in five weeks but the basis for them would be that in order to 'convince' the US parent company not to put Visteon UK into administration, pensions and pay and conditions would have to be renegotiated.
The unions restated that these along with any attempt to close one of the four UK plants would result in a ballot for industrial action.
Visteon secretly outsource work
Much of the shopfloor are beginning to fear that the adjournment has turned into an opportunity for the company to run down the UK operations. The most obvious example of this is the secret outsourcing of brake disc and drum volume from Swansea Plant at the same time as over 300 workers are offered transfers to the Ford engine plant in Bridgend. However, Belfast has seen a pump product line desourced from the plant, while in Enfield, Toyota work has been threatened. Basildon runs short of work after 2009.
Anyway, Visteon have made it clear that if any workers keep their jobs, it will be for £7.40 an hour and no pension. Saying that, workers at Halewood Focus factory have been told that even that rate is too high after being told that they are now in competition with workers in Guatemala!
This from a company that has rewarded its president with a 50 percent increase in total compensation last year, to $7.7 million!
Stewards have ensured that preparations have been put in place for industrial action by the time of the next meeting with the company at the end of April.
We will fight for our jobs
Workers have recently shown both Ford and Visteon that they are prepared to take action to defend their contracts and their jobs. This needs to be built on by a genuine campaign to promote a successful vote in a ballot.
As with General Motors and Delphi in the US, Ford has a key role to play in resolving the Visteon 'problem'. In fact, the Visteon 'project' is beginning to look like an ingenious strategy by Ford to get rid of unprofitable plants by setting up a so-called independent company, ruthlessly driving down costs and then putting it into administration with minimum liabilities and fuss. However, Visteon workers can't afford for this to come true. In France, Visteon workers have gone on strike to defend their wages.
Ford convenors have pledged to support a fightback in Visteon. They realise that this could be a blueprint for a future assault on them. All Ford workers must be made aware of the Visteon situation. A serious campaign must now start in the Visteon plants for a massive 'yes' vote for industrial action to send the message to both Ford and Visteon.
- No plant closures!
- No cuts in pension benefits in final salary scheme! No cuts in pay & conditions for all Ford mirrored and Visteon contracts
- Real business plans for Basildon, Swansea, Belfast,
Enfield and Halewood plants
Vote yes in the ballot for national industrial action if the management don't back down on April 28th
- For a national meeting of all Ford and Visteon shop stewards to hammer out a joint programme of action in defence of our jobs and conditions
- Full support for any industrial action decided by Visteon workers
- End the blackmail of Fords and Visteon workers by the bosses
- Fight for the right to a job without the threat of cuts to trade union negotiated rates of pay, pensions and conditions.
Capitalism doesn't work
In the 21st century, capitalism means unrelenting poverty for billions of people. According the United Nations (UN) one and a half billion people are literally starving, 1.4 billion lack access to clean water and three billion do not have even basic sanitation. In the world's poorest countries children are dying at a rate of almost 200 an hour.
Preventable infectious diseases kill 13 million people every year.
New Labour = Old Tories
The wealth gap is not only a divide between rich and poor countries. It is a divide between the 500 billionaires at the top and 90% of the world's population. Within the 'rich' countries of the West poverty is growing. In Britain the gap is the highest since records began. Thirty years ago, one in ten of our children was poor, today one in three is.
Since New Labour was elected, poverty has continued to get worse - half a million more people have become officially classified as poor. For working class people in Britain, the norm is grinding poverty and job insecurity, an inadequate education system and a crumbling health service.
Riches for a few
Although capitalism is a nightmare for many, it is simultaneously creating wealth for a few on an unimaginable scale. The richest seven people on the planet own more wealth than the poorest 48 countries (UN report, 1998).
The number of billionaires has increased from 232 in 1990 to 514 today.
For workers' unity
The so-called 'peace process' has failed working class people. The only peace 'dividend' that has appeared is for a tiny rich elite. The sectarian political parties have contributed to a growing sectarian division on the ground. They also implemented right-wing anti-working class policies while they briefly sat in power in Stormont. A socialist alternative which unites workers and youth is urgently needed to fight the attacks of the Government and the bosses.
Join the Socialist Party
That is why you should consider joining the Socialist Party. We are a party that fights for socialist change. We don't want the kind of regimes that existed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, which, although they were based on a planned economy, were completely undemocratic dictatorships. We want real socialism - a democratic society run for the needs of all instead of the profits of a few. But we don't just talk about socialism. We fight for every possible improvement for working class people - from campaigning to build the We Won't Pay Campaign against water charges to fighting the cuts in health and education.
More recent leaflets from the SP and Socialist Youth