.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, January 22, 2010

Protest at the Assembly

Busy day at the Assembly yesterday culminating in a protest by several hundred ex-Visteon workers on the Senedd steps, drawing attention to the loss of part of their pensions after the UK company went into liquidation last year.

The union are meeting with Ford in New York later today in a last ditch attempt to avoid legal action against the company because the pensioners believe that Ford guaranteed them their full pension rights when the car giant created Visteon in 2000.

Swansea workers like their colleagues in the other plants in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon, which were spun off at the same time, were persuaded to transfer their pension to Visteon because they believed that they were safe. However, when Visteon UK went into administration last spring, the pension fund was put forward for assessment to go into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) which will result in severe pension reductions.

Most pensioners will only get 90% of what they are entitled to but those who have taken early retirement on enhanced terms will lose much more. There are 3,000 pensioners in all, 700 of which are from South Wales. Despite the Swansea Plant being taken over by Linamar in 2008, Swansea pensioners are all affected in the same way.

I have already met with the Pension Protection Fund to discuss this issue and was told that as part of the investigation process before the pension is taken into the scheme, they will look at the circumstances by which the pension fund has gone into deficit and how the company went into insolvency. If they can find a way to ensure pensioners do not lose out then they will do so.

They also said that if there is on-going legal action that looks as if it could be successful in making the pension scheme viable then it is possible that the Pension Protection Fund will hold off dissolving the scheme and taking it under its wing until that action has come to a conclusion.

There is still a long way to go in this saga but the widespread political support that was evident yesterday was encouraging. Legal action by the pensioners though looks very likely if Ford does not step in to help.

Update: my contribution is below:

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?