On Wednesday I travelled down to London from Swansea with a coach load of former Visteon workers who are campaigning against Ford who are failing to deliver on their pension obligations following the collapse of Visteon in 2009. Many pensioners face losing up to 50% of their pension, and Unite recently announced that they would be taking legal action against Ford for the misselling of pensions.
The main reason that we travelled to London this week was due to the fact that MPs were meeting with Ford Executives to discuss this matter. I was told last minute that I would be able to attend the meeting alongside MPs from all over the country who have constituents affected by this situation.
While we were at the meeting, 100′s of protestors lined the streets of Westminster in protest at Ford’s actions, and the Ford Executives noted that they heard the chanting from where the meeting was held. It was a positive meeting in so much as we were given the chance as politicians to quiz Ford about their involvement, but I must say I became increasingly angry by Ford’s unwillingness to admit any part in the misselling of pensions, or the chairman of Ford, Joe Greenwell’s inability to recognise that Ford had any moral obligation to pay up for the pension shortfall.
They seemed to want to pass the buck to Visteon, and insisted that MPs needed to talk to Visteon about the whole affair. Nonetheless, I still maintain that Ford should take responsibility for their role here. They told workers at the time of transfer that if they transferred their pensions they would have ‘mirrored’ pensions to that of Ford workers, and that their ‘ accrued pensions are guaranteed’. We also saw a letter from Visteon from the time explaining that if workers wanted advice on the transfer that they could seek the help of not only the Visteon HR department but from FORD’s Pension Office too. This seems to suggest a direct involvement from Ford, despite those at the meeting with us on Tuesday telling us that workers had a choice. What choice?
It is shameful that nobody as yet in Ford or Visteon is willing to take any responsibility or moral obligation for what is happening to the pensions of thousands of former hard working staff. Many pensioners only worked for Visteon for a very short time in their careers, and were always told that they were part of the Ford ‘family’. So why are Ford dismissing them, and pushing them away , when they worked so hard to make their company successful? With the profits that Ford makes on a yearly basis, and with the nice salaries that Executives earn there, would it not be right and just of them to settle this issue, and to award the pensioners the money they rightly deserve?
The campaign continues, and I know that MP’s are now pushing for a select committee inquiry in to the collapse of Visteon, as well as supporting Unite’s legal action. The fight goes on for justice for Visteon Pensioners!