I am so pleased to be able to post this latest press release from the VisteonPensionActionGroup:
"Unite Union starts legal action against Ford UK to fight for pensions
Unite the Union http://www.unitetheunion.org
Justice for Visteon Pensioners: http://www.visteonpensionactiongroup.co.uk/
Unite Trade Union seeks legal resolution from Ford to uphold undertakings and commitments made to employees before transfer to Visteon in 2000
Ford announces huge last quarter profits as it celebrates its 100 year in the UK
The Visteon pension collapse leave pensioners with up to 50% losses – and the responsibility passed to the Pension Protection Fund.
Ford has until now rejected responsibility at meetings with the Unite Union and to a large group of MPs.
The Visteon Pension Action Group welcomes the unprecedented step by the Unite Union to pursue through the legal system the a full restoration of pension payments to former Ford employees.
Ford created Visteon UK as a separate company in 2000 and crucially, Ford made commitments and promises to persuade 3,400 Ford employees to transfer pensions to Visteon. Many employees had decades of service with Ford and the future of their pensions was foremost in their minds. So clear were the undertakings by Ford that all employees transferred to Visteon. When Visteon collapsed in 2009 Ford described the loss of earned pensions as ‘unfortunate’ and rejected any moral responsibility, while some pensioners are losing 50% of their income.
The action by Unite is a milestone and represents a significant and critical step in pursuing a claim for those union members working for Ford in 2000, demonstrating solidarity with current Ford employees whose pensions' values are under threat by moving the Ford scheme from RPI to CPI without fund member’s agreement. The Visteon Pension dispute only confirms a level of distrust with Ford actions and words that current employees will reflect in their dealings with Ford and a lowering of trust for the future.
Visteon operated in the UK for 9 years losing £1.2 million every week, in total £560 million as it was committed to supply parts to Ford at prices below cost – as a result the Pension plan was underfunded after a questionable opening transfer value from Ford never recovered and presently stands with a deficit of £350 million.
We see Ford as a highly successful global company, avoiding Federal support loans in the US and now reporting its highest profit for 10 years. In the UK as we reach Ford ' s 100th year since starting production in Manchester and boasting an unrivalled position as the bestselling UK vehicle manufacturer for 35 years - a success built on the shoulders of UK workers and the UK car buying public. Ford now tries to walk away from the very people who built that success
The action by Unite follows their backing of 18 months of demonstrations by Visteon Pensioners at Westminster, the Welsh Assembly, Stormont, Conservative Conference and TUC Pensions meetings with demonstrations even at the premiere night of the ‘Made in Dagenham’ film! A determined cross party group of MPs representing constituents from areas around the Ford/Visteon plants: Swansea, Enfield, Basildon and Belfast led and co-ordinated by Basildon South MP, Stephen Metcalfe, has quizzed Ford on key issues and received only commitments to meet again rather than being provided with any substantive answers to allegations of mis-management and mis-selling of the Visteon Pension by Ford.
The Visteon Pension Action Group thanks all who have contributed to the progress so far in this struggle to restore our pensions. Our case is clear, Ford need to respond by demonstrating a desire to act to deliver on past commitments. A few of our pensioners have fallen victim to age and illness and their widows have been tragically affected by the pension collapse , their distress adds to the motivation and our determination to make Ford recognise their responsibility and deliver on promises and guarantees made to its employees.
Our byword is Persistence, we have the moral right and will prove the legal right, UNITE will win
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" Mahatma Gandhi
Visteon Action Group pictures for download from Flickr:
Justice for Visteon Pensioners:
Dennis Varney 01268 416994 07704 805777 firstname.lastname@example.org
Trevor Jones 01268 558018 07913 377420 email@example.com
Andy Belch 01702 299005 07821 196777 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Bailey 01268 758149 07866 636984 email@example.com
Simon Harding 01621 892534 07763 561199 firstname.lastname@example.org "
The photograph shows the Unite National Officer, Roger Maddison and Baroness Angela Smith of Basildon [then Angela Smith MP] at the Justice for Visteon Pensioners rally outside the Houses of Parliament, 31st March 2010. This is one of the photos that can be viewed on the flickr link above.