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Sinn Fein Backs Visteon Workers

1 April, 2009 - by Pat Sheehan, Jennifer McCann

Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin MP MLA for west Belfast and party colleagues Jennifer McCann MLA and Paul Maskey MLA this morning visited the Visteon Plant in west Belfast, which yesterday announced its closure.   The Sinn Féin group met with the trade union leadership in the plant and with the workforce, who have taken over the factory. The three Sinn Féin politicians were joined by Lisburn DUP MLA Edwin Poots for a meeting with the administrator.   Speaking after the meeting Mr. Adams made clear Sinn Féin’s support for the workforce and his anger at the “shabby treatment of workers by Ford and Visteon.”                                   Mr. Adams said:   “Sinn Féin has been involved with the Trade Union leadership at Visteon and with the workforce over recent years in an ongoing effort to keep the factory open.   Our objective has been to retain jobs at the plant. It is easier to retain jobs than to create new ones.   I have also spoken to senior Visteon and Ford managers about this. And I have been in touch with the New York City Comptroller’s office which has millions of dollars of pension funds invested in Ford.   I believe that Ford has a responsibility to the work force and that it has thus far dealt with a loyal worker force in a most disloyal and shabby manner.   Ford must do the right thing. It must stand by its moral and contractual obligations to the workers. It has a duty to ensure that workers, who have given loyal service, receive their full rights and entitlements.   I am also concerned at the role of Invest NI and whether it alerted the Minister to the seriousness of this situation. I also want to know what it was prepared to do to secure the future viability of this plant and of the 200 jobs here.   My colleagues Paul Maskey, Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsay have already been in touch with the Department seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister, Arlene Foster.   It is also crucial that every effort is made to ensure that the skills resource is not lost and that these workers are not abandoned to the dole queue. We intend raising this matter with Reg Empey at the Department of Learning." CRÍOCH

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