Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/578/7234

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2009

Visteon: editorial comment

London Socialist Party meeting held in support of the Visteon workers (April 2009) with convenors from Visteon Basildon and Enfield, Rob Williams and Brian Denny, photo Paul Mattsson

London Socialist Party meeting held in support of the Visteon workers (April 2009) with convenors from Visteon Basildon and Enfield, Rob Williams and Brian Denny, photo Paul Mattsson

The hard-nosed Visteon bosses thought that they could just summarily close 'their' factories, throwing workers out on to the streets, with measly 'compensation'. But, as Frank Jepson's gripping and inspiring account shows, 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 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, which could leapfrog to three million, or even to 3.6 million by the end of next year. 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.

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, as Frank Jepson indicates, the initiative to occupy did not come from the trade union 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', 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. A key part must be the building of the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign among the young people who will be among the first on the dole queues.

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

Coronavirus crisis - 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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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 special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 5 May 2009:

Visteon workers show: Action gets results

Visteon UK struggle: the story of what happened

Visteon: Editorial comment


Defend victimised trade unionist

Rob Williams sacked by brutal bosses

Editorial: Decisive action needed against victimisations

Defend victimised trade unionist

Defending a shop steward, in spite of the anti-union laws

National Shop Stewards Network national conference


No 2 EU - Yes to Democracy

How can the BNP really be defeated?

Support for No2EU at Usdaw conference


Socialist Party news and analysis

Swine flu: The real issues behind the headlines


May Day

Workers look for alternative to bankrupt capitalism

Widespread protests in Pakistan

Thousands demonstrate in Hong Kong

Bigger May Day demos in Sweden this year

CWI Germany calls for a one-day strike


International socialist news and analysis

ANC returned to power in election landslide


Socialist Party campaigns

Save Lewisham Bridge Defend education

Youth fight for jobs: Launch conference

Youth fight for jobs website

Fight to save higher education

Save linguistics at Sussex!

Keep fighting for further education funding


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 May 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Jobs:

triangleCoordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'

triangleFight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

triangleEnergy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

triangleBail out the real wealth creators, not the rich

Visteon:

triangleVisteon: when factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses

triangleFord workers vote for action

trianglePotential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Redundancies:

triangleRolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

triangleNationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies

triangleStrike action saves jobs at Cammell Laird shipyard

Belfast:

triangleBelfast Hovis workers' all-out strike

triangleNorthern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

3/6/20

Coronavirus

Tories knocked back on schools opening

3/6/20

Coronavirus

Battered Tories face divisions and growing anger

3/6/20

Council

Council finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!

2/6/20

Coronavirus

Furlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

2/6/20

Coronavirus

Protect every job, nationalise don't subsidise

2/6/20

Coronavirus

"Test, trace, isolate, support" - the Tories' scheme fails on all counts

29/5/20

Labour

Lessons from the Corbyn experience

27/5/20

TUC

Covid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

27/5/20

Coronavirus

Reckless, lying cheats

26/5/20

Coronavirus

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

26/5/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

26/5/20

Coronavirus

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

25/5/20

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

22/5/20

Coronavirus

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999