Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 12:08 UK

Visteon eviction case adjourned

Sacked workers from the car components firm Visteon are continuing to occupy a factory in Belfast.
Sacked Visteon workers continue to occupy the factory

A legal attempt to remove sacked workers occupying the Visteon factory in west Belfast has been adjourned until Friday.

The case was brought to the High Court by the company's administrators KPMG.

There was confusion as to whether the workers had any legal representation but a barrister was instructed at the last minute.

He said he would challenge any eviction notice served on the people who have been on the site since March.

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

KPMG said it had no alternative but to close the factories.

Protests

It said the business had never been profitable and Visteon UK's reported losses totalled £669m.

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 the plant when they are offered an adequate deal.

However, Craig Dunford, counsel for KPMG, told the court the occupiers would be unable to make a case for not leaving the site.

He said : "We say there's absolutely no defence here.

"We asked them to leave. We say that's the end of the matter, tragic as that is, that's the reality."

Mr Dunford said it was hard to see what arguments could be made to deny the eviction order being sought.

After referring to any possible technical objection, he said: "Other than that we say we are entitled and there's no reason not to make the order."

John Maguire, the Unite shop steward at the plant, said the workers would wait to see what happened in court before deciding whether to voluntarily comply with any expulsion order.

He said: "We will wait and see and make that call after Friday

"We don't expect a decision by the court that day, there is still a need for further negotiation."

A similar sit-in protest at another Visteon site in London ended after KPMG took legal action against union leaders.

Some of the former Visteon workers protested outside the KPMG offices in Belfast on Monday.



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