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Swansea workers agree settlement after long campaign

Hundreds of former Visteon workers in Swansea have fought a long campaign for compensation, after their pensions fell by up to 40 per cent when the car parts company went into administration in 2009.

  • The Swansea plant opened back in the 1960s
  • It was run by Ford until 2000 - when workers transferred to Visteon
  • Visteon went into administration in 2009, with workers losing up to 40% of their pensions
  • Ford said it was not responsible, and, in 2011, campaigners began legal proceedings in the High Court
  • In April 2014, Ford made a compensation offer to the Unite Union
  • Now, workers have voted to accept the settlement offer

Former Swansea workers have fought for their pensions alongside those from Basildon, Enfield and Belfast.

The Unite union today said "the settlement offer received overwhelming support from all eligible ex-Visteon workers who took the decision to be a party to the legal action."

Visteon workers accept Ford pensions settlement offer

Former workers at the Visteon car parts factory in Swansea, whose pensions were hit when the company went into administration, have agreed a compensation deal with motoring giant Ford.

A long campaign by former Visteon workers to retrieve some of their pension pots has now come to an end.

In April, Ford - which used to run the plant at Swansea and several others in England - made a multi-million pound offer to workers, and the Unite union confirmed today that workers have accepted the offer.

Watch: Ford makes compensation offer to Visteon workers

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Deal struck over compensation for former Visteon workers

A compensation offer has been made to former workers at the Visteon car parts business in Swansea, whose pensions were affected when the company went into administration.

More: Unite says Visteon talks were 'lengthy but constructive'

The settlement, thought to be worth millions of pounds, was agreed between the Unite union and Ford, who owned the business before selling it ten years ago.

Former workers were in London today to hear the news.

Tom Sheldrick reports.

Unite: Visteon talks 'lengthy but constructive'

The Unite union described its talks with Ford as "lengthy but constructive".

Unite has concluded an agreement with Ford to make a settlement offer to eligible ex-Visteon employees who filed legal claims in connection with reductions in their pensions resulting from Visteon UK being put into administration in 2009.

The settlement would avoid further expense for participants in the case and will settle the legal claims that these individuals have made against Ford.

Details of the settlement are confidential and a private matter for those directly involved.

– Unite

More: Settlement reached over Visteon workers' pensions

Settlement reached over Visteon workers' pensions

A settlement has been reached to offer compensation to former workers at Visteon, five years after the car parts company went into administration, hitting employees' pensions.

Former Visteon workers outside the Unite union offices in London this morning Credit: David Wood/ITV News

More: Swansea car parts workers demonstrate in London

Unite said it had concluded an agreement with Ford, which sold off the car parts business to Visteon over a decade ago.

It is understood that around 1,200 ex-workers from factories in Swansea, Basildon, Essex, Enfield in north London and Belfast will be covered by the settlement.

Ford: We've fulfilled our duties to ex-Visteon employees

Ford has had an on-going, voluntary dialogue with MPs and on two occasions has briefed UK politicians on its position regarding Visteon pensions. Both meetings addressed matters that have been raised by MPs on behalf of their constituents.

A legal claim connected with the Visteon pensions’ issue was filed against Ford in January 2011 and a court date has been set to hear the case. The legal process limits the level of engagement that is possible on this issue but Ford has responded to letters both from MPs and from Welsh Assembly Members.

Ford’s position on this issue has remained unchanged. 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.

Ford has fulfilled both its legal and moral responsibilities to former Visteon employees.

– Ford Motor Company Ltd

Read more: Car workers' pensions campaign

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MPs to debate Visteon workers' pensions campaign

Protesters in 2009
Former Visteon workers protesting in 2009 Credit: PA

MPs will hold a debate later today over car manufacturer Ford's moral duty to former Visteon workers who lost their pensions when their employer went into administration.

Visteon UK went into administration in 2009 with 3,000 workers losing their jobs. The majority of workers transferred to Visteon from Ford and were promised their terms and conditions would be protected.

Following a long campaign and several sit-ins, a fair redundancy settlement was reached, but the workers lost 45% of their pension entitlement.

Large numbers of pensioners from the four ex Ford / Visteon sites in Swansea, Belfast, Basildon and Enfield will attend the debate.

Unite national officer Roger Maddison said:

'Ford has a legal and moral obligation to the thousands of ex-employees who paid into its pension scheme all their working lives. We believe the government should be putting pressure on Ford to pay up.'

Visteon workers' long campaign for better pensions

Visteon moved out of its Swansea factory in 2008.

Visteon workers, including hundreds from Swansea, have been fighting for better pensions since the car parts manufacturer went into administration in 2009.

Today's petition presentation is the latest in a long line of attempts to fight for some of the money workers say they are owed.

Read more of our coverage on the former Visteon workers' fight for better pensions

Visteon workers head to London

About 200 former workers from Visteon in Swansea, who claim they lost out on their pensions, are handing in a petition to Downing Street today. A High Court hearing is due to take place in May involving all former Visteon car parts workers.

Visteon took over Ford's operations in 2000, and workers were transferred into the new organisation. The firm then went into administration in 2009 and employees claim they lost significant amounts of money. Some say as much as 40% of the expected value of their retirement pensions was lost.

Workers say Ford should have given their pensions greater protections, but the company says is was not their responsibility once Visteon was created. Ford has previously said that it views the claim as being without merit, and will defend its position vigorously.

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