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Job Losses in Manufacturing Industry

Part of Private Notice Question – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:00 pm on 20th April 2009.

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Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP 4:00 pm, 20th April 2009

I thank the Member for his supplementary question. I had useful meetings with SDLP and Sinn Féin delegations about the issues that the Member mentioned. I heard, at first hand, how hurt the workers felt about their treatment by the management of Visteon, which, rather than announce the news themselves, left that task to the administrators. I empathise with the workers’ feelings. However, we must now consider ways to help those people.

I have made several attempts to speak to Ford in Europe — I forget the gentleman’s name — but have, unfortunately, been unable to connect with him. I will continue to try to contact him about issues that are within my remit. I encouraged trade union representatives to continue to seek legal advice and to continue to work with their unions. Furthermore, I urged them to look to their contract, which they showed to me, particularly the element that said that their conditions would mirror those of their Ford counterparts — I think that that was the term that was used. I understand that Unite continues to engage with Visteon and Ford, and Government will continue to monitor the situation and do what we can.