Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:54 UK

Visteon union rejects cash offer

Former Visteon workers picketed Ford showrooms in the Greater Belfast area
Former Visteon workers picket Ford showrooms in the Greater Belfast area

The union representing former workers at Visteon has rejected an offer of cash payments by the firm's US owners.

Visteon Corporation has said most employees would receive a cash payment equivalent to 16 weeks pay.

Workers in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield have been protesting after being laid off by the firm, which has gone into administration in the UK.

A Unite union spokesman called the offer "derisory" and that it added "insult to injury."

Commenting on the new offer, Visteon Corporation said as well as the immediate cash payment: "Over time additional payments would be made increasing their total severance package to the approximate amounts they would have received under their most recent contract."

Protesting workers in Belfast and Enfield have staged factory sit-ins to highlight their plight.

Earlier, Roger Madison from Unite said the sit-ins had forced the company to the negotiating table as it wanted to sell what was in the factories.

"It may well be that our fight has to move on to Ford, but the sit-in is important at the moment," Mr Madison said.

However a spokesman for Ford reiterated that the company is not responsible for the former Visteon workers.

He said: "Since 2000, Visteon has been an independent company supplying parts to Ford. Ford has no contractual or other responsibility towards the Visteon UK workforce.

"The decision made regarding the plants in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield was made by Visteon's management and not by Ford Motor Company.

"Ford has acted responsibly and met, or exceeded, its commitments under the Visteon agreement of 2000."

Home protests

Meanwhile, some workers have staged protests outside the homes of Visteon managers in Lisburn and Downpatrick.

Pickets were held on Monday and again on Wednesday.

Stressing the protests were peaceful, one worker who took part in one of them, denied the action had become too personal.

"It's personal for me that after 30 years I've walked out of the plant with no pension," he said.

"All I want's a job back in Belfast."

Nearly 600 jobs were lost at the three plants - 210 in Belfast - with staff being given less than an hour's notice.

The workers said they were given guarantees on pay and conditions when the company was split off from Ford nine years ago and will only leave when they are offered an adequate deal.

Protesters in Northern Ireland picketed Ford showrooms over the Easter weekend as well as staging a sit-in at the Visteon plant in Finaghy.

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