Workers at Visteon,
following a four-week battle, have gained a victory. After the
occupation of the Visteon plants and 24 hour picketing when the
company announced its liquidation, Ford/Visteon bosses were finally
forced to concede to the workers’ demands. Workers in Enfield and
Basildon have already voted in favour of the deal, while those at
Belfast will be voting soon. Rob Sewell interviewed Rob Fitch, shop
steward at the Visteon plant in Basildon, who was also one of the
national negotiators that secured the new deal. Rob was asked his
view of the outcome.
"It is a great
relief for all the workers and their families who held out for
justice. More importantly, we, the workers, stood our ground with the
support of many people over the last four weeks. We remained solid at
the three plants: Basildon, Enfield and Belfast. We were, it must be
said, inspired by the example of our brothers and sisters in Belfast
who staged the first occupation of the plant. Following their example
we stood our ground and finally won.
"The press has
tried to make militancy a dirty word. But for me, it means standing
up for what you believe in. It means a worker standing up and not
taking things lying down. We were very proud to stand up and fight
for our rights. This victory shows that militancy does pay.
"I hope that
everyone will understand the lessons of the Visteon dispute. We had
no alternative but to fight, despite our inexperience. Many of us had
little experience of what should be done, like myself who has only
been a steward for two months, or Frank Jepson, the convenor, who was
only in the position since the end of January. The struggle was like
a baptism of fire. But we feel we rose to the occasion and we are
proud of what we did.
"I would stay
that every worker should join and get involved in their unions.
Become active as this fight is your fight"
"We would like in
particular through Socialist Appeal to thank all those who helped
over the last four weeks. That includes Roger Madison, Tony Woodley,
Paul Kruger, Dave Osborne, Richard Carey, Stuart Vaughan, Paula
Michel, Trevor Ball, John Tipple and Des Heemskerk. Of course, the
list is much longer than that, but I can’t mention everyone. It was
really marvellous what we all achieved. Many thanks!"