[Article and photo by Kees Hudig] – Since last Tuesday 31 March, factories of the car parts factory Visteon in Belfast and – on 1 April – Enfield (London) and Basildon in Essex have been occupied by workers who will be laid off. The occupation started in Belfast, where one of the shifts was told on Tuesday that they would be laid off, after which a spontaneous occupation was carried out.
On the next day, workers in Enfield and Basildon were also told that they had one hour to pack up and go. Upon hearing about their co-workers’ actions in Belfast, they also decided to occupy the (roof of the) plant.
The workers are not demanding to keep their jobs, but to receive a fair severance pay in accordance with their contracts, and a decent pension arrangement. Visteon produces mainly dashboards for various car brands and used to be part of Ford, but became an independent company in 2000, continuing to supply mainly Ford. The company has now filed its petition.
The occupation of the factories coincided with the G20 protests in London. Many activists visited the London factory to show their solidarity and are currently launching solidarity campaigns and collecting goods.
Meanwhile, the court has ordered the eviction of the London plant, which may be carried out by the police any time now. On Tuesday, there will be a solidarity manifestation at the gate. There will be a manifestation in Belfast too on that day, and thousands of supporters are expected to show up.
Links to background information and contact information to support the occupiers can be found here.