Workers at the former Visteon plant in west Belfast will today end their seven-week sit-in after finally receiving redundancy payments from the company.
Around 200 employees who lost their jobs when the car parts maker put its UK business into administration are expected to leave the factory for the last time at 12:45pm.
Staff were given less than an hour’s notice when Visteon axed around 600 jobs at its three UK plants in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield on March 31 and workers refused to leave the Finaghy Road North site in protest at being offered only statutory redundancy payments.
Workers’ spokesman John Maguire, the Unite union’s senior convenor at the factory, said the former Visteon staff would leave the factory with mixed emotions.
“You can’t call it a total victory because we’ve lost good jobs but we have managed to get something out of the company,” he said.
“It’s been seven weeks that people have been unemployed but reality hasn’t sunk in for a lot of them because they’ve been going up to the factory every day. So it will be a very emotional day for the employees leaving the factory for the last time.”
The factory was formerly owned by Ford which spun off Visteon into a standalone company in 2000.
Workers argued that Ford had promised them the same pay and conditions under Visteon that they had enjoyed with Ford if they transferred to the new company but instead they were only offered statutory redundancy payment on much inferior terms.
Visteon said the lifetime mirror terms agreement did not apply in the case of the company becoming insolvent and Ford, which remained the component maker’s sole customer, said it had no moral or legal obligation to its former employees.