Former Visteon workers will attempt to extend a legal challenge against Ford Motor Company to cover 1,400 claimants who blame the company for the loss of their pensions.
The claimants, backed by Unite, allege that Ford provided misleading information to its employees when it spun off car parts manufacturer Visteon in 2000.
The Visteon UK pension scheme entered into Pension Protection Fund assessment with a deficit of £350m when Visteon UK went into administration in 2009 and Unite claims Ford is liable for the shortfall.
Claims against the car maker were originally organised into eight different cases with the lead case initially scheduled to be heard this month (PP Online, 21 July 2011).
But the union believes its argument will be strengthened by bringing the case as a group litigation claim.
Lead claimant Dennis Varney said: “The case is building. First my claim went through which was for negligent mis-statement, then an amendment went through which added in the financial data that showed Visteon was never going to survive anyway.
“Now we think this third development adds another pillar because it shows we could have taken collective action together if we had known the truth and maybe changed the course of events.”
A judge will rule on whether a group litigation order can be set up after a hearing on 12 December. If the request is granted then the hearing, which has already been pushed back to May, would be delayed further.
Elsewhere, the Visteon Pensioners Action Group (VPAG), which organises weekly demonstrations against Ford, is planning rallies outside factories in Dagenham, Bridgend and Southampton on Monday after the announcement they were to be closed.
A play about the collapse of Visteon, written by a former employee, is also to receive its premier in Belfast at the end of the month. VPAG hope to bring the production to London in the new year.
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