Swansea Visteon pensioners hail trip to London as their most successful yet
FORMER VISTEON workers fighting to protect their pensions have labelled a rally in London as their most successful yet.
Visteon UK, in Fabian Way, was created out of Ford in 2000 and pensioners claim they were given assurances their pensions would be protected. But workers fear losing up to 50 per cent of their pensions after Visteon UK went into administration.
More than 200 people flocked to London yesterday on the fourth anniversary of the collapse of Visteon.
A rally was held at Unite the union office with pensioners marching on to Westminster square to meet with MPs and AMs. Swansea-based Mike Gard, who worked for Ford for 34 years, said they are very pleased with their progress.
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"We went into number 10 and handed in our open letter, and we are hoping they are going to take our campaign further with a Parliament inquiry," he said.
"Unite General Secretary Len McCLuskey said he is backing us 100 per cent no matter how long it takes. We are really pleased as from last November things seem to be really moving on and we are really positive."
He said it was their most successful trip. "We started off with nothing four years ago and now with the way it has been moving on we feel tremendous," he said.
AM for South Wales West Bethan Jenkins travelled up to the capital along with the pensioners for the fourth year in a row.
She said that on Tuesday she asked the First Minister to reaffirm his support for the Visteon workers.
"Myself and my colleagues have established a cross-party group in support of the Visteon Pensioners, which will meet at the Assembly for the first time on April 16," she added.
Swansea East MP Sian James asked during Prime Ministers Question Time whether David Cameron would meet with protestors.
He declined due to a previous engagement but his aides agreed to receive details from Mrs James on behalf of campaigners.
Mrs James stated said: "If the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to look at the package we are sending him then he will see that the case is very strong indeed."
Swansea West MP Geraint Davies, who is vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group, which was set up to support the pensioners, said: "We are continuing to gain momentum in our campaign for justice for the pensioners.
"I have been able to announce that there will be a select committee hearing who will be able to summon the Ford representatives."
A Ford spokesman said the company has had an on-going dialogue with MPs.
"While Ford recognises the severity of the situation for former Visteon UK employees, Visteon became an independent company in 2000 and was responsible for its own business decisions," said the spokesman.
"Ford fully fulfilled both its legal and moral responsibilities to former Visteon UK employees.
"Ford was not involved in Visteon UK Directors' 2009 decision to put Visteon UK into administration. Consequently, Ford believes that questions regarding Visteon UK being placed into administration and the subsequent impact on the Visteon Pension fund should be answered by Visteon UK management and the trustees of the Visteon Pension Fund."