Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 09:05 UK

Hopes for car plant sit-in 'deal'

 former Visteon employee stands over crates containing components for Ford vehicles at the Visteon factory in Belfast
The plant, which supplied car parts to Ford, went into receivership 10 days ago

The union representing workers staging a sit-in at a Belfast factory has said it is hopeful of a settlement.

Car components firm Visteon closed three plants last Tuesday, making 600 workers redundant, 210 in Finaghy.

Roger Madison of Unite has been holding talks with Visteon management in New York and said they would be meeting managers in the UK on Tuesday.

"They are prepared to sit down and negotiate some form of settlement to this," he said.

There have been a series of rallies and sit-ins at the factories in protest about the redundancies and the pay-off deal offered by receivers.

Workers at the plant are unhappy that they will only get statutory redundancy as Visteon UK is in administration.

They claim the company's former owner and main customer, Ford, had promised redundancy contracts which they now want to see honoured.

On Wednesday more than 100 people marched through west Belfast in support of the Dunmurry staff who lost their jobs last week.

Mr Madison said that while they did not believe there was a possibility of Visteon re-opening the sites they were ready to improve redundancy terms for staff.

Visteon rally
Former Visteon employees held a rally outside the Belfast plant on Wednesday

"I am truly hopeful that we can get a recommendable settlement to what's been an absolute catastrophe for normal working people," he said.

He said that management had been worried about the effect the sit-ins were having on the company's image.

"We've said the best way to get our people out is to offer them a decent settlement," he said.

Belfast City Council is to hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss recent job losses across the city.

As well as Visteon there have been recent lay-offs at Nortel, Bombardier and drill bit firm Hughes Christensen.

One motion will be debated calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to co-ordinate a ministerial response to the redundancies.

Another will support the Visteon workers in their demand for a better pay-off deal.

Councillor Paul Maskey said more had to be done to help workers.

"This is about highlighting the issues that have affected many Belfast citizens in recent days," he said.

"We have seen last week over a period of three or four days somewhere in the region of three or four hundred people out of work."

He said that Visteon workers had been particularly badly treated and they wanted departments to come together to ensure packages were put in place for staff.

"Ministers who have responsibility must do all they can to ensure that people are not treated this way," he said.

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