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Visteon Pensioners Take Fight to Brussels in "Ford Fraud" Case

Visteon Pensioners

Top managers from car giant Ford are to face new questions over the continuing campaign by more than 300 workers from the former Visteon components plant in Swansea who claim their pensions were unfairly slashed.
 
A cross-party grouping of Members of the European Parliament have agreed to press for Ford Europe to be questioned by the EU about the company's claim not to be responsible, after the Visteon Pensioners Action Group were invited to a special lobby in Brussels this week by Welsh Euro MP Derek Vaughan.
 
The former Ford employees claim they were misled about the security of their pensions when their jobs were transferred to spin-off company Visteon, breaching assurances given as part of a specific European agreement.
 
Labour's Derek Vaughan MEP says the lobby presented evidence that contrary to assurances given by Ford Europe the employee's pension scheme was under-funded at the time of the transfer and that Ford was directly involved in working with Visteon's management to transfer supply from Swansea to other European countries.
 
The cross-party grouping has agreed to press the European Union Commissioner for Employment to require Ford Europe to answer the claims against them.
 
Derek said:
 
''Ford's European managers told us directly that the pension scheme was fully funded and that they had no responsibility for Visteon following the transfer.
 
“Yet the Basildon pensioners showed us documentary evidence of a £49million shortfall and of a covert operation which saw the parent company collaborate with Visteon to switch production from Wales to suppliers in Germany, Hungary, Spain, France and the Czech Republic.
 
“Even more astonishingly we were told Britain was the only country anywhere in the world where Ford had failed to honour full pension payments following the split.”
 
Engineer Dennis Varney who worked for Ford for more than thirty years and has seen his pension nearly halved, hopes the legal case being taken in his name will be helped by the extra pressure from Europe.
 
Speaking in Brussels after the lobby, Dennis Varney added:
 
“Ford signed a European Works Council agreement that was supposed to underpin the viability of Visteon going forward and then went on to undermine it by reducing their prices unilaterally.
 
“Europe must now put pressure on Ford to do the right thing.”
 
The cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament have agreed to ask European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Laszlo Andor to officially ask Ford Europe to reply to questions on the case.  A follow up meeting with Ford will also be sought to discuss the evidence presented by the group.     



-Friday, 24 June 2011-

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