Monday, 8 December 2008

Factory Occupied to Stop Closure - Chicago shows the Way Forward

"This is the end of an era in which corporate greed is the rule. This is the start of something new." - James Thindwa, Jobs with Justice

What do you do when your boss tells you that your workplace is being shut down in 3 days time and you will get no pay? In Chicago, 250 angry workers have taken their factory hostage, preventing equipment being taken out, occupying to focus the whole attention of the nation on their just cause. At a time when government's spend billions bailing out bankers and capitalists, the workers have demanded a 'people's bailout'.

In raw anger, they chanted


This audacious and courageous stand has won local, national and international support and media attention. It points to the road that people in South Wales are gonna have to travel: Twenty years ago, Thatcher ripped the hearts out of our community replacing coal with heroin, jobs with despair. We cannot allow another jobs massacre to wipe-out our communities.

Read more here

Action gets results:

Calcast factory in Derry makes parts for Ford. They announced 90 redundancies recently, the union dragged its feet in doing anything about it, but workers decided to occupy and won a much better redundancy package.

Remember people are being laid off in South Wales with no redundancy pay. Welsh TV has shown people with tears rolling down their cheeks when they were told that they were being laid off with no redundancy pay just weeks before Christmas. And what the hell are the trade union bureaucrats and the politicians who star in the Cardiff Bay soap opera doing about it? We have to say to Ieuan Wyn Jones and Rhodri Morgan: Your platitudes won't feed my family!

Meanwhile in Cheshire, electricians at Fiddler’s Ferry power station heard that 60 people were being laid off by their agency BMSL. They staged wildcat strike action.

A newspaper report:

"'When they announced that they were sacking us, the contractors and the subcontractors blamed each other. But we weren’t having it. Nobody from any other trade crossed the picket so they had no choice but to get everyone back on site.' The electricians were reinstated. Some 45 were taken on by another subcontractor, the rest staying with BMSL"

Action meant that 60 people facing spending christmas on the dole still have their jobs.

You can watch footage of our brothers and sisters in Chicago here and here

Right on!

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