Ford car showrooms in and around Belfast were the scene of pickets at the weekend, as factory workers facing the axe took their anger to the forecourts.
Employees of the Visteon car parts plant in west Belfast took their demands for better redundancy and pension payments to Ford sales centres in Belfast’s Boucher Road, as well as Mallusk and Lisburn.
Protesters waving placards reading ‘Betrayed by Ford’ and ‘Justice for Visteon Workers’ stood in the street outside Lindsay Ford in Lisburn city centre on Saturday to make their voices heard.
Hundreds of workers from the factory have been staging a sit-in at the site since they were told two weeks ago that they were facing the sack.
They have accused former owner Ford of not honouring redundancy agreements, and say they are angry many of them who have worked at the plant for over 30 years could be made jobless with only a bare minimum redundancy package.\[Chris Cairns\]The Belfast protesters have also urged workers at plants in Essex and London to launch similar demonstrations in England.
"We're not going to rest until Ford sort out people's pensions and live up to the agreements they gave," said John Maguire of the Unite trade union.
“If this isn’t sorted we plan to take these protests all round Ireland and I hope the workers in England will do the same thing.
"The protests will not be confined to the plant, it will go the length and breadth of the four main showrooms in Ireland, if necessary, and we will take our protest over to Ford headquarters in Dearborn (Michigan).
“We want the plant reopened, we have a full order book and are ready to operate. If they can’t reopen it they must ensure the factory is closed using the proper mechanism — that means proper redundancy terms and pensions.”
Last week Unite held talks with Visteon management in New York, and said it would be meeting managers in the UK tomorrow (TUESDAY)
Visteon took over the factories formerly owned by Ford after it was set up in 2000.
The company had a total workforce of 610 in the United Kingdom, of whom more than 560 were made redundant a fortnight ago.