Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://archive.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1035/28906

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2019

Visteon struggle tenth anniversary

When factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses

Visteon protest in Wales outside the Welsh parliament, photo Socialist Party Wales

Visteon protest in Wales outside the Welsh parliament, photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Ten years ago, in response to Visteon UK (a US-owned car components company that had been spun-off from Ford) pulling the plug on its operations with the loss of nearly 600 jobs, workers fought back by occupying plants at Enfield, Basildon and Belfast.

Socialist Party members participated in the occupations and other solidarity actions, as well as the ensuing pensions' battle.

This struggle was at the start of the Great Recession - following the capitalist financial crash triggered by the Lehman Brothers banking collapse.

Below we reprint a shortened article from the Socialist (5 May 2009), which draws a balance sheet of this workplace struggle and why it was a success.


The hard-nosed Visteon bosses thought that they could just summarily close 'their' factories, throwing workers out onto the streets, with measly compensation.

But they have been prevented from doing this by the marvellous action of the Visteon workers, backed up by widespread solidarity from the rest of the working class.

There is no doubt that, compared to what was offered at the beginning, the settlement is a considerable achievement on the part of these workers.

Mass pressure has compelled the bosses to offer more reasonable redundancy terms than they originally intended.

Unfortunately the factories have not been saved. If the workers' suggestion that they be nationalised (by the then Labour government) and kept open through alternative production had been adopted, they could have been.

Instead many of these workers will now add to the remorseless rise in unemployment in Britain. It is against this background that the opposition to closure of the factories, felt by all Visteon workers, is particularly keenly felt in Belfast. Northern Ireland already has the outlines of a desperate rise in unemployment.

Some of those who were made redundant may get jobs later - although this is a remote prospect for many. It is also likely that these jobs will be much lower paid.

And there is the loss of skills, which will go with the redundancies. Following the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, the Work Foundation reported that two-thirds of those who found jobs suffered swingeing cuts in pay, with the average loss being £5,640. That was before the recession which will worsen the situation.

There is also the unresolved issue of the workers' pension rights. It is not ruled out that the bosses could try to renege on the pensions. This must be met with firm opposition from the trade unions.

(In 2014, after a five-year campaign, Unite and the ex-Visteon workers won a £28 million victory, securing their pensions from previous owner Ford after their pensions had been slashed when Visteon went into administration).

But the lesson of this dispute is that the Visteon workers would have received next to nothing without determined class action, including occupations of their factories, for a time in the case of Enfield and Basildon, and throughout the dispute in the case of Belfast.

Benchmark for struggles

Moreover, the initiative to occupy did not come from the trade union full-time officials, but from the workers themselves.

These workers have now set a benchmark for all similar struggles in Britain. They have 'learned to speak French' - ie adopting the militancy of the French workers.

This lesson will not be lost on other workers who will face similar attacks in the next period.

This victory must be built on in the struggle against the mass redundancies that loom. The starting point must be opposition to all redundancies and defence of every job.

But, fundamentally, the defensive and offensive struggles of the coming period must be linked to the fight for socialist change in society to replace the rule of the dictatorial bosses with a socialist planned economy.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 27 March 2019:


What we think

Corbyn and labour movement must mobilise to bring down Tories and force election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Haringey 'Corbyn council' finance chief resigns

Oil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

Universal Credit forces women into 'survival sex': scrap it now!

NHS staff shortage now permanent: reverse health cuts!


International socialist news and analysis

Algeria uprising: 'We stay here until the whole system goes'


Socialist history

Lessons of the heroic 1984-85 Miners' strike

Visteon: when factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses


Workplace news and analysis

Support the Honda workers: nationalise to save jobs

Valentine school strike against budget cuts and redundancies

Newark machine bearings factory workers return to work

Striking teachers march against Enfield schools academisation plans

Bradford College strike remains solid over pay and funding

West London civil service workers strike against office closure


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Climate strike reports

United working-class struggle needed to fight for trans and women's rights

Leeds residents' anger against private 18-story monster block in 'Little London'

Enthusiastic Southern region socialists plan for the struggles ahead

Worcester library cuts: staff not even consulted


Opinion

Reader's comment: mental health under capitalism

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 March 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Visteon:

triangleFord workers vote for action

trianglePotential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleFinal meeting of Swansea Visteon pensioners

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Occupations:

triangleMarches, blockades, strikes, occupations... How can protests win?

triangleIreland housing occupations

triangleFrance '68: History's greatest general strike erupts

triangleMay 1968: Police attacks on students spark mass revolt

Jobs:

triangleTesco slashes jobs and customer service

triangleTories attack UC recipients with 'get any job' threat

triangleTheatre: Yes Yes UCS

Pensions:

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

triangleUniversity workers striking back

Belfast:

triangleBelfast: Worth watching portrayal of previously airbrushed workers' unity

Basildon:

triangleEssex cuts racket must end

Enfield:

triangleEnfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist

Unite:

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

16/2/22

Miners

From our history: 1972 miners' strike

19/1/22

Rob Windsor

Rob Windsor - remembering a tireless fighter for socialism

6/1/22

Britain

New unionism - when mass workers' action changed Britain

24/11/21

Chartists

Chartism: The world's first working-class movement

10/11/21

London

75 years after the first new town

20/10/21

South Africa

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa

20/10/21

South Africa

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa

13/10/21

Winter of Discontent

The 'winter of discontent' - When workers could take no more

6/10/21

Jarrow

Ten years since our 330-mile Jarrow March for Jobs

22/9/21

Occupy

10 years since Occupy

8/9/21

Terror

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on

25/8/21

Poplar

Lessons from Poplar 100 years on

11/8/21

Soviet Union

August 1991 - The aborted military coup in the 'Soviet Union'

7/7/21

Terry Fields

Terry Fields MP, Prisoner DV 3695 - The jailing of 'poll tax' rebel and Militant

9/6/21

Clyde

The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in

triangleMore articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999