Page last updated at 08:53 GMT, Saturday, 2 May 2009 09:53 UK

Visteon workers to vote on deal

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

Visteon car workers in west Belfast are to vote on Sunday on whether to accept a deal and end a bitter dispute over the collapse of the factory.

The Unite union said it had agreed improved redundancy terms with the company.

The deal includes enhanced payments for redundancy, as well as compensation in lieu of notice and holiday pay.

Visteon workers in Belfast are expected to call off their month-long sit-in at the factory if the offer is accepted.

Unfortunately we weren't able to keep these people in their jobs, but in terms of a financial package, we think we've done the best we possibly can
Roger Madison

About 200 former employees in Belfast have occupied the site in the city since they were made redundant almost a month ago.

Almost 600 jobs were lost at Visteon's three plants in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield, with staff being given less than an hour's notice.

Unite spokesman Roger Madison said the deal was "ten times what people were being offered originally".

"It's really great news and we're hoping that the guys will accept this," he said.

"They've only been offered this because of the actions taken, especially by the people in west Belfast - to lock themselves in a plant for nearly a month is refreshing - it's old-fashioned trade unionism."

The company was formerly owned by Ford, and Mr Madison said it was "the sort of closure package we would see if a Ford plant was closing".

"Unfortunately we weren't able to keep these people in their jobs, but in terms of a financial package, we think we've done the best we possibly can," he said.

'Mixed feelings'

Donal Murphy, who worked at the Belfast plant for more than 40 years, said there were "mixed feelings" among former workers but he would probably vote to accept the deal.

"They have offered a generous redundancy payment, but unfortunately they are still walking away from the pension - we will probably fight for that separately," he said.

"For some of the younger ones with less service, it's a great deal for them because the pension was not an issue for them.

"It's different for the likes of myself, at our age and trying to get another job, because our pensions will be probably more than halved."

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