Ford meets Visteon workers’ union Unite to discuss compensation

Ford agreed to meet with the union Unite on Friday to discuss compensation for the protesting Visteon UK workers.

The protests, which started on 1 April, are still ongoing at the three Visteon sites in Belfast, Enfield in North London and Basildon in Essex, after the car-part manufacturer went into administration.

The company is making 565 people redundant, but having claimed insolvency, it is unable to pay contractual redundancy agreements.

Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint general secretary, was today expected to meet with John Fleming, Ford’s European chairman, to urge the international car manufacturer to help the workers.

Many of the workers are former Ford employees – following Visteon UK’s split from Ford in 2000 – and they are calling on their parent company to ‘do the right thing’ and offer some form of financial compensation.

But a spokesman for Ford previously warned that the Visteon workers were no longer the responsibility of the company.

Derek Simpson said: “I am convinced that Ford have a moral obligation to these workers who have been cruelly laid off with only a few minutes’ notice. Visteon have a contractual obligation, as well as a moral obligation to these workers.

“The unacceptable treatment of Visteon’s workers will be taken up with the senior management at Visteon. Unite will press the case for compensation. We hope that Visteon will do the right thing.

“These workers must be treated with dignity and respect. This is yet another example of our weak labour laws letting skilled manufacturing workers down.”

But Zoe Wigan, employment and pensions partner at law firm Beachcroft, told Personnel Today that if Visteon has declared itself insolvent and has gone into administration it is under no obligation to pay workers’ redundancy packages.

While employees can claim against the company, they will be at the bottom of the list for payment, she added.

Last month telecommunications giant Nortel, also went into administration making 228 redundancies, many of which will not receive their contractual redundancy pay out.

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