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MPs call for Commons action in Visteon pension row

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

By David Torrance

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WELSH MPs have urged two influential House of Commons committees to investigate the Visteon pension row.

Visteon UK in Fabian Way was created by Ford in 2000 and former employees argue they were given assurances their pensions would be protected.

But the former car parts workers fear losing up to 50 per cent of their entitlement after Visteon UK went into administration.

Now Geraint Davies and Jonathan Edwards are lobbying the Business and Work & Pensions Select Committees to take up the case.

The move has been prompted by the refusal of Ford's US-based chief executive to appear before an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) investigating the matter.

Swansea West MP Geraint Davies, who is vice-chairman of the APPG, said: "Unlike the cross-party group, a Select Committee or sub-committee has the power to summon witnesses.

"So we're asking the two Select Committees to discuss holding a short, one-session hearing in order to take evidence from Ford, the unions and a Government minister.

"It affects 3,000 former Ford workers and therefore dozens of MPs, and the ability to summon witnesses would complete the work of the APPG in trying to bring Ford to account."

A High Court hearing between former Visteon employees and Ford has already begun. But Mr Davies believes legal action "won't necessarily" recover the workers' pensions, so MPs are determined to "carry on the fight".

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said: "The more you look into the whole situation of the Visteon pensions, it becomes clear Ford promised to protect its former workers and have reneged on that promise.

"This is an opportunity for the relevant Select Committees to hold an inquiry into this whole sorry saga."

A Ford spokesman said: "Ford's position on this issue has remained unchanged. The formation of an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) signalled the continuation of dialogue with MPs and, in the interests of balance, we anticipate other stakeholders (Visteon pension fund trustees, Visteon Engineering Services management and trade unions) will meet with the APPG.

"While Ford recognises the severity of the situation for former Visteon UK employees, Visteon became an independent company in 2000 and was responsible for its own business decisions. Ford fully discharged both its legal and moral responsibilities to former Visteon UK employees.

"Visteon still operates today as a large-scale automotive component supplier across Europe, Asia and the Americas."

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