Workers set to sue for 'robbed' pensions

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The Independent Online

Thousands of workers at a former car parts firm are close to taking legal action to recover pensions worth millions of pounds "robbed" from them when the company went into administration, it was learned today.

Up to 4,000 workers who used to be employed by Visteon have been campaigning for over a year to reclaim pensions they are owed.

Their union Unite has taken legal advice and the workers believe court action is imminent.

The former factory workers, who used to be based in Belfast, Basildon in Essex, and Enfield in north London, are campaigning to force Ford, which set up Visteon in the 1990s, to take back responsibility for their pensions, which were devalued after Visteon UK went into administration.

Gerry Campbell, who used to work at the Belfast factory which was occupied by workers last year, said some former employees had lost around £800 a month in pension payments.

"Thousands of us are being deprived of our rightful pensions and it's a scandal that this has not been resolved.

"The pensions regulator is still investigating what happened. We pressed the last government to do something about it and now we will lobby the new Government to find out what happened.

"We believe that what happened was illegal and within a few weeks our union could be taking legal action."

Some of the former Visteon workers lobbied this week's annual conference of Unite in Manchester and were told by joint leader Tony Woodley that the union was seeking fresh legal advice.

A fire broke out last month at the Basildon factory, which has remained empty since it closed last year.

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