Sacked Belfast car workers continue sit-in

Sacked car workers are continuing to stage a sit-in in a factory in Belfast, following shock factory closures and job cuts.

Angry employees of car components firm Visteon UK refused to leave plants in Belfast yesterday after the firm announced it was closing the factories and sacking workers with no redundancy pay. The protests quickly spread to plants in Enfield, London, and Basildon, Essex. This morning, Belfast employees were continuing to hold their factory hostage following an overnight lock-in.

The employees claim the company’s former owner, Ford, had promised redundancy pay which they now want to see honoured, or their posts reinstated.

Representatives of the Unite union are due to hold talks with a senior representative of Ford Europe today.

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary, said: “Hundreds of families across Belfast, Basildon and Enfield are now staring at a bleak future on the dole, and workers desperately need assurances that their skills and service will not go to waste or be lost to this country.

“This is yet a further reminder that 20,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared since the economic slump took hold. Our manufacturing sector is in crisis. It needs serious strategic and financial help, and it needs it now.”

Visteon went into administration earlier this week, and was forced to close the factories, making 565 of the 610 UK workers redundant on Tuesday. The remaining workers will help administrators KPMG wind down the business.

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