Workplace occupation

Turnips, hammers & the square - why workplace occupations have faded.

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What if we build it and they don’t come? That was the experience of the left during the crisis - decades had been spent building organisations and a model of how crisis would create revolution, but when the crisis arrived the left discovered that the masses weren’t convinced. The expected pattern of crisis leading to small strikes and protests, then to mass strikes and riots and then perhaps to general strike and revolution didn’t flow as expected. Under that theory the radical left would at first be marginal but then as conditions drove class militancy to new heights, the workers disappointed by reformist politicians and union leaders, would move quickly to swell its ranks.
 
In 2008 and 2009 that was the expectation of the revolutionary left organisations across Europe and North America, but that cycle of growth never materialised. In 2011 revolts did break out, but not in the manner expected and so the left could only spectate and criticise. Beyond that the period of struggle from 2008-2014 suggests that there is less strength in building struggles around broad ‘bread & butter’ issues than we imagined and a suggestion that diversity proved more useful in sustaining progressive struggle.
 

Workers Without Bosses - Workers' Self-Management in Argentina

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The last 30 years in Latin America have seen the introduction of neo-liberal policies - structural adjustment programmes, austerity measures, a shift from the industrialisation and "internal accumulation" model to one that favours promiscuous financial capital, free trade agreements and an increasing economic dependency of the region on the USA. As usual, the people have suffered the worst part of these policies - high levels of unemployment and depression of wages and the standard of living. People's most immediate and basic needs were expendable when it came to the real priorities of local governments: the payment of the fraudulent external debt & the maintenance of high levels of profits for both the local and the foreign bosses.

Clery's: The Case for Occupation

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Fridays shock closure of the iconic Clery’s department store in Dublin shows how the law is set up to favour capital and screw workers. Workers are being told there may be no additional redundancy or owed holiday payments as the company is in debt. But this is only the case because right before the closure the largest asset, the building itself, was separated off from the accumulated debts. This was almost certainly legal under our system but of such obvious dubious morality that the workers could expect massive popular support if they occupied the building on a permanent ongoing basis.

According to SIPTU unions organisers some of the workers are owned “four or five weeks’ wages” and the limited redundancy they will get will come not from the company but from the rest of us via the government’s insolvency and social insurance fund which pays out statutory redundancy when companies declare bankruptcy. In other words all those costs are to paid by us.

Paris Bakery and EF Language School Workers Speak Out

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One of the key principles underpinning anarchist politics and philosophy is that of self-organisation.  And one of the key principles underpinning self-organisation is the belief that it is by doing that people learn.

 

Very few people come to radical politics through what they read or through ‘education’ in the traditional sense.  It is usually through becoming involved in a struggle that directly affects themselves and their neighbours/work colleagues that most people come to see the power structures of society and begin a process of analysis of how society operates and how it needs to change if the needs of ordinary people are to be met.

 

Paris Bakery workers declare partial victory as revenue steps in

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Paris Bakery workers ended their sit-in on its 19th day following official confirmation from Revenue that the company will be wound up. This means that the workers can be paid through accessing the Insolvency Fund. The law must be changed to ensure no other group of workers have to go through this to get paid the money they are owed. It's up to all of us through our unions to keep the pressure on for legislative change.

Occupied Greek Factory Vio.Me Begins Production Under Workers Control

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013 is the official first day of production under workers control in the factory of Viomichaniki Metalleutiki (Vio.Me) in Thessaloniki, Greece. This means production organized without bosses and hierarchy, and instead planned with directly democratic assemblies of the workers. The workers assemblies have declared an end to unequal division of resources, and will have equal and fair remuneration, decided collectively. The factory produces building materials, and they have declared that they plan to move towards a production of these goods that is not harmful for the environment, and in a way that is not toxic or damaging.

 

Occupy, Resist, Produce!

“We see this as the only future for worker’s struggles.”
Makis Anagnostou, Vio.Me workers’ union spokesman

Interview with Game Workers Occupying the Cork Patrick Street Store

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Workers of the games retailer GAME are continuing to occupy shuttered stores across the Republic of Ireland to protest at the unfair and disrespectful treatment by their former employers. The Workers Solidarity Movement fully support the workers in this direct-action. Here is an interview with the staff in Cork's Patrick Street store, Liam Duggan and Amanda.

The La Senza and Vita Cortex Occupations Making the Boss Pay

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“When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose’  - Bob Dylan

Last year the word and action, “Occupy”, was imprinted on our minds, from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Zucotti Park in New York. This year Occupy has come home to us in Ireland. Sure, we’ve had the valiant efforts of people bringing attention to the great injustice being visited on us all by camping outside the Central Bank, but the amoral character of the boss class is never better displayed than when you get made redundant.

Thousands March in Cork to Support Vita Cortex Workers

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An estimated 5,000 people marched in the streets of Cork yesterday to show their support for the former workers of the Vita Cortex factory, who have spent nearly 60 days occupying their former workplace as part of a struggle to get their former boss Jack Ronan to pay a €1.2m redundancy package that had been promised to them since last September. The march, organised by the Cork Council of Trade Unions, left from Connolly Hall on Lapp's Quay and concluded at the plaza at the southern end of Grand Parade, via Parnell Place and Patrick St.

Cork: Hundreds Turn Out to Support Vita Cortex Workers

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Factory-gate rally draws large support ahead of LRC talks next week

 

This afternoon, the workers of Vita Cortex in Cork accompanied by several hundred supporters attended a rally at the factory gates on Kinsale Road, which was organised by the Cork Council of Trade Unions. Among the attendance showing their support for the Vita Cortex workers were several former staff from the La Senza lingerie store chain, who themselves were in dispute with the liquidator of their former employer KPMG until this Friday. They were made feel very welcome by the crowd, and the speakers from the impromptu platform in the factory carpark drew inspiration in their speeches from the result achieved by the La Senza workers who were in a similar situation to that facing the 32 Vita Cortex employees. The platform was compered by Pat Guilfoyle of the TEEU, and other speakers were Vita Cortex shop steward Seán Kelleher, president of Cork Council of Trade Unions Ann Piggott, and Joe O'Flynn, general secretary of SIPTU and Cork native. Mr. O'Flynn spoke of the efforts being made by SIPTU headquarters in pursuit of a resolution of this situation, and he castigated runaway employer Jack Ronan for refusing to pay the €1.2m owed to his former employees, a sum described by Mr. O'Flynn as 'not a king's ransom'. He also spoke of the union's determination to support the Vita Cortex workers in their dispute 'for the long haul, if it takes 30 days or 30 weeks, with the support of trade union members across the country'. The rally ended with a long peal of applause as the names of all 32 Vita Cortex workers were read out from the podium.

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