Visteon occupations - Taking Direct Action

The Visteon occupations show that we are far from apathetic when it comes to defending our jobs, wages and standard of living. Workers began occupying the Finaghy plant on March 31st, after administrators announced the loss of around 600 jobs at Visteon/Ford plants at Belfast, Basildon and Enfield in England. Davy McMurray, from the Unite trade union, said the way the job cuts were announced was "brutal." Workers were given six minutes notice of their sackings, being treated like mere commodities to be bought and sold, then discarded by our bosses when necessary.They are angry that Visteon, which has been bankrolled by our Executive, have failed to honour redundancy terms agreed by its previous owner Ford, from which Visteon separated in 2000. Despite formal independence, Ford still accounts for about 80% of its business.

The result has meant people who have been working at the plant for 30 years could be receiving only £9,000 in redundancy payments, with most getting less than that. These job losses, as well as others at Bombardier and FG Wilson, further decimate the manufacturing and textile industries. Bosses are using the economic recession to re-locate to countries which offer cheaper wages and conditions.

Visteon workers are demanding that the factory re-opens and previously agreed redundancy conditions are honoured. In a display of working class solidarity and resistance, workers have picketed Ford showrooms and held pickets outside their former bosses’ houses. Protests have also spread to other Visteon plants in England and Ford workers have said they will refuse to handle any car component parts from South Africa, which will replace those formerly made in Finaghy

Direct action such as strikes, go-slows, civil disobedience and occupations are the most effective means in defending our interests, rather than leaving things to politicians and trade union bureaucrats who offer us nothing but disempowerment, betrayal and broken promises, which results in a pervading sense of powerlessness.

Direct action teaches us to control our own struggles, while building a culture of resistance that links with other workers in struggle. Solidarity and mutual aid find real expression and as our confidence grows so too does our ability to change the world.

Capitalism is permanent crisis. We need socialism and we need real democracy, not the present charade where we can choose some of our rulers, but may not choose to do without rulers. A real democracy where everyone affected by a decision can have their say in making that decision. A democracy of co-operating workplace and community councils. A society where production is to satisfy needs, not to make profits for a privileged few. Anarchism.

Workers Solidarity 109 May - June 2009 Edition

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