Workers at Magna, the plant on the airport industrial estate that supplies Ford with seats for the Transit, are pondering whether to vote for a strike ballot as they wait to discover if the company will improve their redundancy package.
The workforce have been told they will be made redundant as their only customer, the Ford Transit plant, is closing in summer next year although they have not been officially told yet when they will be leaving.
The workers are unhappy that Magna – who earned nearly $28.7 billion worldwide last year -are only offering minimum statutory payouts – in some cases as low as £1,800, while Ford workers next door will be picking up bonuses that will push their redundancy payments as high as £100,000.
One Magna worker, who agreed to speak to Eastleigh News on condition of anonymity, described the mood of the workforce as “Shit”.
The employee who has been at the plant almost since its start 12 years ago said:
“Ford workers are fine, they are being paid lots of money but Magna are trying to get away with statutory redundancy payments with us – which are rubbish.”
“Tony” said he wasn’t surprised by the news of closure:
“The writing was on the wall in 2008 when Ford lost half their staff and there have been plans for closing Southampton and relocating it to other places since the 70s so we did quite well to last another four years.
“The news was still a kick in the teeth though. We knew it was coming but it still hurt.”
He also said he believed there would still be jobs available for him when he left but thought he would have to travel further afield and perhaps take less money.
Tony also told Eastleigh News about the workforce’s demands:
“The management at the plant are refusing to move, all we want is negotiation. We are not asking for anything outrageous, we are not looking for any Ford type payout. We just want recognition for all the time and effort we put into the plant and keeping Ford happy but all Magna is doing at the moment is offering us the bare minimum.
“What we are asking for is two weeks pay per each year’s service rather than just one week – and payment in lieu of notice.
“Previously when staff here have been made redundant they would be offered statutory pay and payment in lieu of notice – that was the minimum payment they would receive – but we are being offered less than that and that’s what has really riled us.”
Tony said he would be prepared to take action if it was needed but think it would in itself change the companies position but would serve to highlight their dispute.
“A strike won’t cost the company because they are insured – but it will produce a lot of noise.”