Trade unionists staged a lunchtime protest today to support workers “sacked with six minutes notice”.

About a dozen members of Watford Trades Council gathered outside the Sky Ford showroom in Rickmansworth Road, Watford, to back staff shown the door by Visteon UK.

Up to 600 employees were made redundant with little notice by the firm, which has plants in Basildon, Enfield and in Belfast, at the end of March.

The plants used to belong to Ford, and the sackings followed Visteon's fall into administration with reported losses of about £669 million.

Workers claim they were made a number of guarantees about pay when the company split from Ford and are now striking outside the factories until those promises are honoured.

Members of Watford TUC have stood on the picket line outside the Enfield plant on two occasions and decided to today protest outside Ford's Watford showroom.

Jon Gamble, secretary of Watford TUC, said: “We're down here to show our solidarity with Visteon workers who are on strike about being made redundant.

“They were told with six minutes notice they were going to be thrown on the dole.

“We're getting very good responses from people driving into Watford, particularly from postal workers round the corner in Ascot Road. Every time they go past, they are honking because they are faced with the same threat. Part privatisation is part of outsourcing. The company that takes them over could do the same thing to postal workers that's happened to Visteon. It's a cost-cutting exercise.

“It's important workers don't go quietly. When Woolworths closed before Christmas, their union let it happen without a shot being fired. Those workers are now on the scrap heap. Workers need to do something and fight back like Visteon workers. We're expressing our solidarity with them now.”

Administrators KPMG said they had no choice but to close the three plants.