DETROIT (April 16, 2009)—Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. has agreed to provide severance pay to former employees of its United Kingdom facilities in a proposal aimed at ending a dispute that has seen workers staging sit in strikes and picketing Ford Motor Co. dealerships.
The company placed the three plants that made up its Visteon U.K wholly owned subsidiary into administration—a form of bankruptcy—March 31, and the court-appointed administrators from the auditing firm KPMG L.L.P. immediately closed them.
The plants originally were part of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford and were turned over to Visteon when Ford spun off the parts operation as an independent company in 2000. When it closed the sites, Visteon, based in the Detroit suburb of Van Buren Township, said that the facilities had never made money and accounted for $991 million in losses in the past nine years.
Workers at the Belfast, Northern Ireland, plant that molded intake manifolds and throttle bodies, responded with a sit-in strike and the other plants soon followed their lead. Visteon's Enfield, England, plant molded interior parts including instrument panels and center consoles while a third plant in Basildon, England, made radiators and other metal parts. Workers and their backers also picketed at the plants and at Ford dealerships this month.
Members of the trade union Unite argued that Visteon and Ford were responsible to the 550 former workers.