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Adams Praise for Visteon Workers

31 March, 2010 - by Pat Sheehan, Westminster

Sinn Féin west Belfast MP Gerry Adams has commended the efforts of Visteon workers in Belfast and their colleagues in Britain for their “determination and courage in taking on Visteon and Ford following the closure of the three Visteon plants last year.”

In a message to be read out today in London at a rally to mark the first anniversary of the closure of Visteon Gerry Adams said that the campaign for justice by the workers “is something which should never be forgotten.”

The west Belfast MP, who raised the issue with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last Wednesday when he met him in Downing Street said: “Those who lost their jobs, those with pension rights and other citizens have a right to know the truth about the behaviour of Ford and the Visteon management and to be assured that those responsible for this scandal will be held to account.”

In his message to the London Rally Mr. Adams said:

“Although the workers employed by Visteon were located at different plants, they were all treated with the same injustice and contempt.

In denial of the same rights, three manufacturing plants were closed at the same time by the same company throwing hundreds of people out of work.

That became the spark for a campaign which united workers across the three plants and evoked goodwill and outrage throughout the wider community.

It was not only the injustice of the decision which was common to all those affected : it was the determination to resist and expose that injustice.

One year on, the Ford  / Visteon scandal has been made a badge of shame for the management involved and a banner of honour for the workers.

Rather than give up in the face of a mighty, multi-billion pound international business, the workers, their families and their communities fought back.

You have been an example for workers and communities everywhere. Together, you have showed that ordinary people can prevail.

Now, the scandal has to be brought to an end. Those who were responsible for the Ford / Visteon scandal must be held fully to account. If there is evidence of crime or business malpractice it must be brought before the courts.

Measures must be put in place to ensure that companies cannot take public money; reinvest it somewhere else; transfer assets and pensions; swap management into safe jobs; and then axe workers and their livelihoods.

At a meeting in Downing Street last week I pressed Mr. Brown again on this.

There must be an exhaustive and rigorous independent investigation into the Visteon scandal. The rights and entitlements of all of those who depend upon a pension from Ford / Visteon must be upheld. 

We must reassert the principle that workers rights are human rights. Every citizen is entitled to expect that in return for their labour, they are treated with dignity. We must strive to create a society with that value at its core.

Keep up the struggle.

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