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Former Visteon Employees to Protest

The union Unite has confirmed that former employees of Visteon resident in Wales will demonstrate outside the Welsh Assembly in protest over their pension rights. The union is urging assembly members to lend their support after claims former parent company Ford broke "copper-bottomed promises" over their pensions.

In March 2009 Visteon UK, which was previously owned by Ford Motor Company - went into administration. Nearly 1000 workers at Basildon, Enfield and Belfast lost their jobs.

Unite insists that when the Ford plant in Swansea was taken over by Visteon in 2000 workers were assured their pensions would be safe.

They allege that Ford promised to protect the pension rights of the transferred workers. However they are now having their claims assessed by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and face having a reduced pension entitlement paid. Unite says that the PPF should not have to pick up the bill as Ford Motor Company made firm commitments to protect its workers' rights on their transfer to Visteon.

Unite also called on The Pensions Regulator to investigate the transfer of the Visteon scheme to the Pension Protection Fund. The regulator said that it was aware of the situation but not in a position to comment as yet.

Regional secretary Andy Richards said: "Unite will firmly support ex-Visteon workers fighting for pensions' justice. Ford made copper-bottomed promises to the workers before they were transferred to Visteon and we intend to hold them to these promises.

"We call on not just ex-Visteon workers, but also the wider community, to stand together and fight this."

Ford released a statement saying: "Ford met or exceeded its obligations under the 2000 agreement when Visteon became fully independent. The agreement covered the transfer of employees to Visteon UK and their pensions into the Visteon fund.

"The situation for former Visteon UK employees is unfortunate but the responsibility for administering and funding their terms and conditions was Visteon's, including managing its pension fund.

"Ford's obligations to its former employees were fully discharged and Ford believes there is no basis for resuming liability for benefits transferred to Visteon."

Unite will also be taking the case to a senior Ford executives meeting in New York on January the 22nd.