FORD pensioners are celebrating after winning a five year battle to secure pension rights.
More than 100 ex-employees, including those from the former Visteon plant in Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, marched in London exactly five years and one day after they lost their jobs in 2009.
The car giant has now reached a deal to offer compensation to former workers.
Their pensions were affected after Visteon went into administration, with some employees losing up to 50 per cent of their savings.
It is rumoured the deal could be worth millions of pounds.
After Visteon, an offshoot of car giant Ford, went into administration, workers claimed they should have received Ford pensions, having been transferred to Visteon when it was initially set up in 2000.
In a statement, union Unite said: “Unite has concluded an agreement with Ford to make a settlement offer to eligible ex-Visteon employees who filed legal claims in connection with reductions in their pensions, resulting from Visteon UK being put into administration in 2009.
“The settlement would avoid further expense for participants in the case and will settle the legal claims that these individuals have made against Ford.
“Unite and Ford have been involved in lengthy but constructive discussions to reach a position where a settlement has been offered. Details of the settlement are a private matter for those directly involved.”
Ford had previously refused to pay, saying Visteon was its own company and was responsible for its own decisions.
The ex-workers claim they were promised equal pay, pension and redundancy rights to Ford staff when Visteon was created, but ended up with just statutory redundancy payouts and were told Visteon’s pension trust had a £260million deficit.
Visteon has other plants in Essex, Enfield in north London, Belfast and Swansea – with around 1,200 former employees covered by the settlement.
The Visteon Pension Action Group was set up in a bid to restore workers’ pensions and Stephen Metcalfe, South Basildon and East Thurrock MP, chaired an all-party parliamentary group investigating the failure of the Visteon pension fund.
A meeting will be held in Basildon, on Thursday, April 10 before an agreement is finalised.