|Workers holding a protest behind the locked gates at Visteon who laid off around 200 workers this week at their Finaghy plant.|
WORKERS who have lost their jobs at the Finaghy car part firm Visteon have occupied the plant in protest at their redundancy terms.
The workers began their protest on Tuesday afternoon after it was announced that around 200 jobs are to go with the closure of the firm.
Of the 210 Belfast employees, 191 were made redundant immediately with the remaining 19 being retained to assist in the 'orderly wind-down of the business'.
The administrators have been called in to the factory which was originally Autolite and then became Ford before re-branding as Visteon.
About 100 of workers spent Tuesday night at the car firm.
West Belfast MP Gerry Adams spoke to them on Wednesday morning in the canteen and said Ford had a moral responsibility to do the right thing by their former employees. He said his party would be lobbying the New York controllers office, which has pension funds invested in Ford, to bring pressure to bear.
The Visteon workers want the guarantees on pay and conditions, which they say they were given when the company was established out of the existing Ford plant nine years ago, to be honoured.
Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots said he was deeply disappointed at the news as many Lisburn people have been employed at the facility since the 1960s.
"The staff have done nothing wrong and it is not their fault that the company has to close this plant. it is incumbent upon the company to treat their staff properly in this instance. I hope the Minister Sir Reg Empey will do everything in his power to support these people and ensure they get a decent package" he said.
Councillor Brain Heading said: "This is an indication, following on from the job losses at Montupet, of the pressure the manufacturing industry is facing.
"Obviously we need to think to the future and Sir Reg Empey should contact Visteon to see what re-training opportunities are available for staff laid off."
The administrators KPMG said it had no alternative but to close the factory and two others in England - one in Basildon and the other in Enfield.
It said the remaining employees would assist the administrators in "the orderly wind-down of the business".
It added that the UK business had not been profitable "since its incorporation in 2000" and Visteon UK's reported losses since totalled £669m.
Visteon had a total workforce of 600 in the United Kingdom. The company in the UK had been waiting to hear if Visteon in America would continue to prop up its three plants.
Davy McMurray, from the Unite trade union, said the way the job cuts were announced was "brutal. "
"The administrators came in, took a meeting of the workforce and told them their employment was terminated."
Mr McMurray said that because the company is in administration the workers will only get statutory redundancy payments.