Northern Ireland

Visteon worker angry at '£25,000 loss' over pension deal

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Media captionAn ex-Visteon worker from County Antrim says he has lost out on up to £25,000 in a pensions' compensation deal.

An ex-Visteon worker from County Antrim says he has lost out on up to £25,000 in a pensions' compensation deal.

About 1,400 people have accepted a deal worth £28m, following negotiations between the trade union Unite and Ford, who once owned Visteon.

Unite said it wrote to everyone but several people have said they were not contacted and have lost out.

More than 1,000 were left out of work and pension values fell when Visteon was placed into administration in 2009.

The workers were employed at sites in Belfast, Enfield in north London, Basildon, Essex, and Swansea.

Unite said it had written to all members of the pension fund making them aware of the claim for compensation and asking if they wished to join the legal action.

Image caption Visteon went into administration in the UK in 2009

Carl Perkins, who worked for the company in Belfast from 1978 until the plant closed, said he was not included on the list put forward by Unite for the compensation claim.

He said he has lost between £15,000 to £25,000.

"Basically no-one contacted me, I wasn't computer literate and I didn't realise the campaign was as good as it was," he said.

"I wasn't included in the campaign: I have had no contact, it was basically just by meeting people around about I was able to know this was happening," he said.

He said he did not blame those behind the campaign, but added: "I just don't understand how Ford can offer it to one group of pensioners and not all pensioners."

He said he attended a meeting after hearing an offer was to be made to those involved in the campaign.

"Another person asked why he wasn't included and one of the speakers said there were forms posted out, claims forms, posted out to all members.

"And it was then I realised there was no form posted out to me. I don't know who's to blame for that and I don't want to attribute blame for that because at the end of the day it's Ford I'm upset with, not the men I worked with."

James Moore of Unite, who was a group leader at Ford and Visteon, but is now a Unite shop steward in a different organisation, said Ford had all the details of everyone it employed.

"This is being billed as a victory for Unite. But the majority of people are not getting any money," he said.

"People were not contacted by Unite and therefore did not know about the legal claim."

"Nobody contacted me regarding any settlement or any deal," he added.

"There seems to be some sort of mix-up, at the top both at Unite and in Ford, not supplying the details of everybody that was concerned and then Unite not advertising it in the local media or their own Unite magazine for instance - so I was never contacted - not by telephone, written to or email."

He said he thought people had genuinely been overlooked.

Mr Moore does not know who was responsible for drawing up the list of claimants but said there had been a "wall of silence" from Unite over the issue.

"According to the compensation scheme, I'm probably due to lose £3,000 to £3,500," he said.

A Unite spokesman said: "Unfortunately Unite could only represent those who came forward to join the action.

"This was a legal case, not an industrial dispute.

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Media captionJames Moore says he has lost up to £3,500 in a pensions' compensation deal.

"Unite did everything it could to make everyone aware of the case, including communicating through the pension trustees to ensure the most up-to-date addresses were used, and offering people representation, even if they had left the union, provided they rejoined on the 50p a week rate.

"It is regrettable that people chose not to join the action and, as the limitations period for taking a legal action has now passed, there is nothing Unite can do."

The union said it had been contacted by 10 people throughout the UK who said they had not been contacted.

In a statement, Ford said it had concluded an agreement with the Unite union to settle with eligible ex-Visteon employees who filed legal claims in connection with reductions in their pensions.

"The payment will avoid further expense for participants in the case and will settle the legal claims that these individuals have made against Ford," it said.

"Details of the settlement are confidential and a private matter for those directly involved."

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