Thousands expected at Visteon rally

Thousands of people are expected at a rally in support of workers laid off at the Visteon plant in the North today.

Thousands of people are expected at a rally in support of workers laid off at the Visteon plant in the North today.

Politicians, trade unionists, family members and supporters will parade from Andersonstown in west Belfast to the nearby car components factory.

Disgruntled former staff have refused to leave the centre until a row over redundancy packages is resolved and have staged a sit-in.

Management announced eight days ago they were closing their three UK bases after incurring massive losses.

One of the march organisers said: “There is a great deal of anger at the minute and we want to step up our campaign to try and bring Ford into this.”

Visteon UK was created in 2000 after former owners Ford decided to sell off part of its operation.

Workers maintain they were protected from compulsory redundancy under Ford. Some have been employed for decades. Around 210 are affected in Belfast.

The workers’ spokesman added: “Ford have to fulfil their obligations to us.”

Ford has stressed that Visteon is now a separate company but added former staff had an opportunity to go back to the company and many did so.

Some who were laid off turned down better redundancy packages in the past in a bid to keep the ailing outfit, which was losing millions of pounds across the UK, going.

Staff also laid off at Basildon, Essex, and Enfield, north London, have supported the protest in Belfast.

The workers’ spokesman said they were considering picketing Ford showrooms in the North, a move union leaders denied last week.

They are also canvassing for support from union members in Ford.

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