Legal moves to evict factory sit-in protesters

This could get interesting. Following the unions’ rejection of an offer from the Visteon Corporation, the administrators of Visteon UK PLC are reported to be taking legal action to evict the former employees who have been staging a sit-in at the west Belfast factory. Belfast High Court is due to hear the case tomorrow. Apparently Sinn Féin and the DUP agree that it is “a regrettable step”. But then, there’s only so much you can do, isn’t there?.. Adds Hearing adjourned until Friday.

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  • nineteensixtyseven

    Has anyone ever seen the documentary ‘The Take’ about the Argentinian car-parts factory occupations? The employers tried the same thing but a whole community effort managed to prevent the bailiffs and the police ever carrying out the eviction. Eventually the workers managed to get the parliament and the courts to support them in founding a co-operative factory which then flourished. El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido.

  • Any idea what the offer was?

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    It’s linked to in the earlier post.

  • Well this is to all those factory workers, family members and wider community,

    R8 Your Politician is asking the questions on your behalf, while yous are standing up their day and night, your politicians are working 2 and 3 jobs + expenses.

    Watch the video.

    http://r8yourpolitician.tv/DesktopModules/UltraVideoGallery/UltraVideoGallery.swf?vId=66&portalId=0

    Special mention about the factory workers!

  • Pete

    Sorry I missed that, I agree it is a derisory offer, especially for workers who have been employed at the plant for most of they’re working lives. It seems to me Fords via Visteon have pulled a fast one here. The workers were basically bribed with jobs to move over to Visteon, an option which understandably they took, then a few years down the line this company is shut down.

    One of the arguments Ford put forward when they shut plants like Dagenham was they would continue to manufacture spare parts in the UK.

    This is a grubby betrayal by a multi national.

  • villager

    I hardly think we should be taking Argentina as an example. It’s lack of respect for contracts is one of the main reasons why it is so poor, despite having probably the best educated population in Latin America.

  • Comrade Stalin

    nineteensixtyseven,

    Paddy Devlin’s autobiography recounts his attempt to set up a worker’s co-operative glass factory in West Belfast after the owner pulled out. It lasted for a short while and then had to close down due to pilfering.

  • Grubby betrayal of a multinational or “business”

    A foreign company trying to survive in the worst economic crisis since the great depression.

    What would you expect that company to do not shed the jobs here, shed the jobs in the USA.

    Give me the support and finance to launch my own local business and ill create local jobs and train unemployed people up to compete in the booming IT sector thats holding through this recession.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Comrade Stalin,

    “Paddy Devlin’s autobiography recounts his attempt to set up a worker’s co-operative glass factory in West Belfast after the owner pulled out. It lasted for a short while and then had to close down due to pilfering.”

    Yeah, pilfering as in the Provos demanding protection money from what I remember of that chapter.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Patrick L: “What would you expect that company to do not shed the jobs here, shed the jobs in the USA.”

    Comme ci, comme ca. Ironically, most of the US automakers make money overseas, so maintaining a workforce where they make money might make sense.

    Likewise, the pro-union slant of Michigan helped create this mess. The state should, as a broad rule, favor neither the union or the company, leaving them to sort out their own laundry. When the state gets in the business of favoring one or the other, problems arise. In Michigan’s case, the state put undue limits on the company, ham-stringing their ability to negotiate — by preventing them from hiring temporary replacement workers, the union starts with an advantage in negotiations.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Come on, after eight years of Bush and 10 of NL you talk about one state being pro union, in the years I mention the whole bloody world has been pro multi national, what good did that do?

    Patrick Lismore,

    You make my point for me, when life gets tough, the US multi nationals, after conning tax breaks out of the EU
    Tax payers pockets, they head home with their begging bowl in hand.

    That you find this perfectly reasonable behavior just shows what a sewer your mind has been caught up in, and you lot claim we lefties have been brain washed with filth and nonsense.

  • 0b101010

    founding a co-operative factory which then flourished.

    Any recent proof of Forja San Martin’s success? I suspect that, only naturally, production will have plummeted in an environment that serves to punish the hard work, ability and achievement of the individual.

    Sorry I missed that, I agree it is a derisory offer, especially for workers who have been employed at the plant for most of they’re working lives.

    Were they doing it for free? Out of the goodness of their hearts and their love for their fellow man?

    The workers were basically bribed with jobs to move over to Visteon, an option which understandably they took

    So they accepted “bribes” and we’re meant to feel sorry for them?

    This is a grubby betrayal by a multi national.

    You’re imagining a social contract that never existed.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mickhall: “Come on, after eight years of Bush and 10 of NL you talk about one state being pro union, in the years I mention the whole bloody world has been pro multi national, what good did that do?”

    Oddly, enough, mickhall, I was simply pointing out a specific set of circumstances in response to a comment. For you to try and inflate it as some sort of broad-brush statement on my part is dishonesty of the first water. While I allowed that the state’s pro-union tilt did no favors to the US Auto industry, I also plainly stipulated that it was not the only factor, merely one that contibuted to the mess. Oddly enough, when the rest of the nation (and much of the world) was enjoying economic growth, Michigan was losing jobs and was a one state recession as far back as the latter part of 2006.

    Likewise, I clearly stated (although does appear to have eluded you…) that the interests of the two parties need to be balanced and that favoring either was doing favors to neither. You might want to read what folks write, rather than react to what you wish they’d written.

    Then again, most unions, in my personal experience, are basket-cases of one flavor or another. They maintain and enforce mediocrity, protect lazy and incompetent workers at the expense of the rest of the labor force and are generally led by a collection of lawyers and political hacks who no nothing of the work the people they purport to represent actual perform. Then there is the example of the US coal industry in my youth, which had refined the contract negotiation almost to the point of being a stage production — 6 months out, unlimited over-time and the buyers of coal lay in massive stockpiles. because all parties know, just as the sun rises, there was going to be a strike. The workers worked as much overtime as they could bear under the same certitude. The also ended nearly always in the same fashion — some marginal increase in automation, some marginal decrease in workforce and 3-4 years hiatus until all the same props and scripts were dusted off for the next revival of the play.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “Any recent proof of Forja San Martin’s success? I suspect that, only naturally, production will have plummeted in an environment that serves to punish the hard work, ability and achievement of the individual.”

    Can’t find anything but given that it had closed due to incompetence under private management the alternative was surely better under a system where workers had a practical and emotional investment in their workplace.

  • ” Then again, most unions, in my personal experience, are basket-cases of one
    flavor or another. They maintain and enforce mediocrity, protect lazy and
    incompetent workers at the expense of the rest of the labor force.”

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu”

    Dread,

    Yes I got you completely wrong, silly billy that I am, one can see from you post [no 13] above that you are totally neutral when it comes to trade union-employer relationships.

    Did you ever consider that if the US coal owners entered into negotiations in a spirit of agreement, like the majority of employers who recognize trade unions do, there would be no need for unions to bring there members out the gate. But hey lets blame the workers for the worlds ills, it saves you using the intelligence you were born with.

    Believe it or not most trade union negotiators see it as a failure on their part when they are unable to reach an agreement with the employer and have to resort to strike action, I know I did, for it means bread is taken from the table of those we represented.

    But hey, you stay comfortable with your 19th century prejudices.

  • Jo

    I’m pretty sure that, had this happened under a Direct Rule regime, that many SF representatives would have been keen to have their pics taken with the strikers.

    Has ANY political representative stood with these men? (and, as far as I know, they ARE all men(?))

  • Frank

    “I’m pretty sure that, had this happened under a Direct Rule regime, that many SF representatives would have been keen to have their pics taken with the strikers.”

    “Has ANY political representative stood with these men? (and, as far as I know, they ARE all men(?)”

    http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/images/2009/04/02/car-plant-p20.jpg

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/09zq6jH81s3RX/610x.jpg

  • Dread Cthulhu

    mickhall: “Did you ever consider that if the US coal owners entered into negotiations in a spirit of agreement, like the majority of employers who recognize trade unions do, there would be no need for unions to bring there members out the gate.”

    Did you ever consider that is the coal miners union lawyers didn’t feel the reflexive need to be seen as “tough,” and negotiated in the spirit of cooperation, there wouldn’t be this orchestrated song and dance number every three years? Cuts both ways, sunshine.

    mickhall: “Believe it or not most trade union negotiators see it as a failure on their part when they are unable to reach an agreement with the employer and have to resort to strike action, I know I did, for it means bread is taken from the table of those we represented.”

    Sure, mickhall… now pull the other leg, its got bells. Now, maybe that is how it is on your side of the pond, but unions on this side don’t seem to be singing from same hymnal. I know, I’ve been a member of three unions over the years and listened in on the tales of friends from a half dozen others. So, while you may say I’m anti-union, I gotta ask — who should I believe, your “pie in the sky” fairy-tales or what I’ve seen with mine own eyes, felt with mine own skin?

    mickhall: “But hey, you stay comfortable with your 19th century prejudices. ”

    Sure — and I gather you keep your cranium in your fourth point of contact for the warmth and the smell. I cheerfully concede that employers are bastards — I’ve had a few of those over the decades as well. But, frankly, no employer ever picked my pocket so I could have the privilege of being sold down the river by my so-called advocates. No employer rep ever told me to slack off and not work so hard — quit making the old hands look bad. I’ve never had an employer record my work as having been done by someone else to protect some slacker. Like I said, what should I believe about unions, your fairy-tales or what I know for myself?

    The difference between us, mickhall, is fairly basic. I think the state should stay out of the shit-slinging between unions and companies in all but the most extreme circumstances, the better to be seen as being not partisan for those few circumstances where they do need to step in. I believe that unions are just as crooked (and a hell of a lot more petty) than companies.

    You, on the other hand, think would seem to believe that union feces don’t stink and that there is only ever one villain in a union / company dispute. And, as usual, you have no real answer for what I say, resorting to your usual rubbishing of a few lines, rather than an intelligent rebuttal for my example, merely a reflexive regurgitation of pro-union talking points and hackneyed jibes borne of your own ignorance.

  • Jo

    Ta, Frank! 🙂

  • Dread

    I never said there were no short comings within trade unions and I stand 100% over my suggestion that most conveners and shop stewards would consider it a failure if they have to move to strike action.

    Not least because it closes off ones options considerably. If you look at the strike days lost in the UK/US and the number of ‘agreement’ signed between management and unions without strike action, then your suggestion that trade unionists are strike happy does not wash.

    I agree there is a major flaw in the way some trade unions are structured and it is an outrage that full time officials do not receive the average wage of the men and women they represent.
    Here in the UK we have trade union leaders earning over 5 times and more that amount.

    However, far from making these people more militant it has the opposite effect, as it places them life style wise in the same camp as the bosses and leading politicians.

    You’re not the only trade unionist who has been sold out by a corrupt or incompetent TU leadership, welcome to the club. Tough, but so what, it should make you all the more determined to remove such scum from the TU movement.

    Unless that is you can come up with a better way for workers to negotiate with their bosses collectively, for sure as hell attempting to negotiate individually allows management to play of one worker against another. The end result being low wages and appalling working condition a la the third world.

    As to the tone of my post, I am a great believer in you reap what you sow.

  • 0b101010

    As to the tone of my post, I am a great believer in you reap what you sow.

    …and yet there you are arguing for collective bargaining, where everyone reaps what the productive sow.

    for sure as hell attempting to negotiate individually allows management to play of one worker against another. The end result being low wages and appalling working condition a la the third world.

    Negotiating individually allows each person to play themselves against other workers based on their ability, productivity and value to the employer. In collective bargaining, your colleagues are stealing out of your pockets.

  • Who ever wrote post 21 talks like a serf not a free man, it is hardly surprising they failed to stand over it by using their real name.

    That someone could write such twaddle after what has happened over the last few months is almost unbelievable.

    The clue to this individuals mentality is in these words, “to play themselves against other workers.”

    Even serfs and slaves showed some loyalty to one and another, but not this sorry excuse for a man.

  • Jo

    For “the productive” read “most people”

    I worked in HR for many years and the vast majority of my time spent on “time wasters” was concentrated on 3 people. 3. out of 8000.
    Thats a sense of proportion. Or it would be if people werent prejudiced and distorting of the few against the many when it comes to those who work and those in the Tim Robbins satirical song: “Some just won’t”.

  • 0b101010

    Who ever wrote post 21 talks like a serf not a free man, it is hardly surprising they failed to stand over it by using their real name.

    Is a free man shackled to the lowest common denominator set by their co-employed? My loyalty is to ability. Unlike you, I’d truly love for everyone to reap what they sow.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “Unlike you, I’d truly love for everyone to reap what they sow.”

    Seems to me you want the employer to reap what everyone sows.

  • 0b101010

    Can’t find anything but given that it had closed due to incompetence under private management the alternative was surely better under a system where workers had a practical and emotional investment in their workplace.

    As I understand it, Forja San Martin intended to pay every worker the same after they stole the plant. What incentive does that offer for anyone to do the hardest jobs, the most skilled jobs or work any more than the most incompetent and lazy person employed? What makes exploiting the able and willing virtuous?

    it is hardly surprising they failed to stand over it by using their real name.

    not this sorry excuse for a man.

    I wanted to revisit this comment to ask two questions:
    – What value do you think your “real” name has added to your words?
    – What makes you presume that I am a man?

    the vast majority of my time spent on “time wasters” was concentrated on 3 people. 3. out of 8000.

    Check your premise. How much time did you waste on three time wasters?

    Seems to me you want the employer to reap what everyone sows.

    I don’t want the employer, as an abstract entity, to do anything. I want my employer to earn enough to be able, and to want, to continue to employ me and pay me appropriate to the value I add to the company. I would expect employers to look for a return on their investment.

    To stretch the metaphor somewhat: if an employer owns a farm, equipment and seeds and hires me to sow them, isn’t it reasonable that they would expect to be rewarded? If I couldn’t have sown any seeds because I didn’t own a farm, equipment or seeds, is it logical to resent the employer that can provide these because they own property that I do not?

  • “I don’t want the employer, as an abstract entity, to do anything. I want my employer to earn enough to be able, and to want, to continue to employ me and pay me appropriate to the value I add to the company.”
    Posted by 0b101010

    I do not understand why you believe the average trade unionists does not also want this too? [see above]

    You write that by ownership, the employer invests their own money in plant etc, these days this rarely happens especially in Ireland when it comes to multi nationals, where it is the tax payer who provides the seed corn. Indeed it is according to the supporters of neo-liberal economics, one of the main reasons why the Celtic tiger is such a success. Ooppppsss.

    I doubt most people begrudge an employer getting a fair share of the profits, but in the recent past that is not what has occurred, one only has to look at the inflated salaries of senior management to understand this, whilst the average workers living standards have stagnated in the last 20 years.

    To suggest you can create a more equitable world by workers negotiating individually is infantile, one only need look at the third world to understand this. It is a noble idea but history is against it in practice.

  • barnshee

    “worked in HR for many years and the vast majority of my time spent on “time wasters” was concentrated on 3 people. 3. out of 8000”

    Not in the same league admittedly but in the “public sector” worked in HR (700 employees) where the time spent on “time Wasters” (- the “discrimination issue” was a big seller) was almost 100% ” he gave me a bad report because he was a prod/mick”

    The one thing that cheered me up was the nearly 50/50 balance on prod/mick complaints —in my experience they were invariably lazy shysters who climbed on the prod/mick divide to avoid accountability for their shit performance. Aided and abetted by their “union”

  • Jack Jones who has just died, along with others of his generation was at the forefront of giving trade unions a bigger say in their work place.

    For example on the large construction sites I worked on in the 1970s early 80s, as shop stewards/conveners we played a role in disciplining workers who were bad time keepers or just lazy bastards.

    We did this because it was to the advantage of the members we represented, as when a man, [in those days few women worked in that industry] turned in late or had a day off for no good reason, this meant his workmates had to carry his load. There absence also cut down the bonus’s the men could earn as there was a man short.

    This was not done in the manner of todays HR, but by talking to these men, if they had problems at home or with their health, we asked management to cut them some slack until they could sort it , etc. If there reasons were not valid we cajoled them, perhaps at times gently bullied them to pull up their socks, which worked well.

    Acquiescing in they’re sacking or suspension was our very last resort and I can only think of it happening on a single occasion.

    This took a considerable burden off of management and made the site run more smoothly. We also had bonus stewards who worked alonside management when checking what work the men had carried out in the previous week to assess their bonuses.

    We ran an unemployed list of construction workers who were looking for work and came to an arrangement with management over who got a start. It simply was not in our interest to recommend shirkers.

    Although we would recommend strong trade unionists and why not? Indeed I can remember one occasion when a large Petro chemical contract employing 1000s of workers in our region was out on strike due to management blacklisting. The stewards running the site came down to see us and asked us if we could get the man a start on our site as their dispute was going no where. We were able to do this because we had built a good relationship with the management on our site and they understood we were not out to shaft them.

    None of this was a case of anyone being in anyones pocket, whether trade unionist or management, but a recognition both sides had different objectives which could be best fulfilled by having civilized industrial relationships.

    Then along came Regan/Thatcherism with their confrontalist platform. As far as workers were concerned the outcome of Neo liberal industrial relations meant going to work became a misery and I would challenge any one, whether in human resources or on the shop floor to deny that fact. For trade unionists like me it meant the dole and no hope of being employed in the construction industry.

    I only hope the pendulum is swinging back the other way.