Dundee factory occupation

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Django
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Mar 5 2009 08:59
Dundee factory occupation

Lifted from the Solidarity Scotland website:

Workers Occupy Dundee Factory

An occupation is taking place at Prisme Packaging in Dundee. It started at 5pm on Wednesday 4th March after the twelve employees were told their contracts were being immediately terminated without redundancy pay.

Please circulate this information

Please text/phone urgent messages of support to 07970875455 or email prismeworkerssolidarity@googlemail.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Interview with Matthew – Young worker in the occupation

“On Monday we came into work as normal and the Managing Director came in and gave his letter of resignation. So we phoned the company secretary who was actually on holiday. We were told to speak to a guy called Alan Dand. On Tuesday he called us and an administrator came to look at the accounts. Then the company told us that they didn’t have enough assets to pay for the administrator and said “Looks like we’re just going to shut the door”.

We were told that the director and a legal representative were coming to tell us our rights but in fact the legal representative was for the director and wouldn’t tell us anything. They won’t even tell us who owns the company! We demanded that we be given a letter how much we were entitled to in redundancy payments, our P45’s and statutory redundancy forms. When we received the letter it stated how much our statutory redundancy payments were and that we were entitled to wages, pay in lieu of notice and accrued holiday pay. Then the next sentence of the letter said “Unfortunately, we do not have any money to make these payments to you.”. They said there were other routes we could take to get our redundancy payments but all they have suggested is speaking to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

After receiving these letters we were told to leave and come back at half nine in the morning but we decided we’re not leaving until we receive what we’re entitled to. We’re not giving them the opportunity to lock the doors while we’re out so we end up with nothing.”

Jason Cortez
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Mar 5 2009 09:30

It is good to see that the workers have occupied the factory.Let's hope they can force some money out of them (or at least steal all of the plant and steal it for scrap wink )

BB
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Mar 5 2009 12:48

Just faxed them a solidarity message.

MT
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Mar 5 2009 13:13

Anyone from Dundee here to tell more? Any other source than Socialist Party?

alibi
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Mar 5 2009 14:08

bbc now reporting this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7925624.stm

7 of the 12 workers employed there are taking part in this occupation so a clear majority, which is a good sign.

more from the local paper (Dundee Courier) here, including photo:

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2009/03/05/newsstory12729439t0.asp

interesting that the two local politicians having their say (Labour and SNP) aren't calling for them to leave the factory

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Entdinglichung
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Mar 5 2009 17:25

short video: http://news.stv.tv/scotland/80540-standoff-between-shut-dundee-factory-and-former-employees/

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Mar 6 2009 09:12

from http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Pay-us-or-we-stay.5045766.jp

In an echo of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders' occupation in 1971, 12 employees staged a sit-in protest after losing their jobs – by locking themselves behind the gates of a cardboard box manufacturing company in Dundee.

The five men and seven women – all non-union members – had been told the company, Prisme Packaging, has no money with which to fund their redundancy payments. They have vowed to continue their occupation until they receive statutory redundancy money.

One of the protesters said: "We want to make other employers think twice before they make people like us redundant.

"If 12 of us can do it then anybody can, and we will hold out for as long as it takes."

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sum-one
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Mar 6 2009 10:31

Is this still on-going? Would like to text some solidarity if it is. wink

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Foristaruso
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Mar 8 2009 14:04

this movement of occupation continues? anybody has an information about?

MT
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Mar 12 2009 14:49

i've found this update
http://www.solidarityscotland.org/content/view/599/2/

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oisleep
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Mar 12 2009 15:14

we had a whip round for them on MATB - below is our man handing it over to them yesterday

Skips
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Mar 12 2009 16:48

Its great to see workers sticking up for their rights. Shame striking has been basically outlawed though.

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flaneur
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Mar 12 2009 17:43
oisleep wrote:
we had a whip round for them on MATB - below is our man handing it over to them yesterday

Off topic, what is that MATB about? Looks like a hodge potch of all the denominations there.

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jef costello
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Mar 12 2009 18:02
jolly roger wrote:
oisleep wrote:
we had a whip round for them on MATB - below is our man handing it over to them yesterday

Off topic, what is that MATB about? Looks like a hodge potch of all the denominations there.

It's a message board. The people in that picture are the strikers, for some reason it looks really badly photoshopped. Probably a dodgy phone camera.

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flaneur
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Mar 12 2009 18:51

Hah, by there, I meant the forum, not the picture.

And I worked out it's a message board also. Lefties of all stripes, is it?

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Django
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Mar 13 2009 09:26

We had someone go over and say hello. They're in good spirits from what I hear. Should be a report in the next Resistance.

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sum-one
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Mar 13 2009 14:58

Still on-going then? How long is it now?

MT
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Mar 22 2009 23:04

they plan a co-op according to BBC

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jef costello
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Mar 22 2009 23:24
jolly roger wrote:
Hah, by there, I meant the forum, not the picture.

And I worked out it's a message board also. Lefties of all stripes, is it?

It's a tumour on the body politic.

It began as a home for people who had either been banned from urban75 or who were afraid of revol. Politically it's more socialist types and they tend to be supporters of national liberation. The discussions can be quite good sometimes, although I tend to get a bit of a hammering on there.

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Mar 23 2009 07:52
Quote:
Politically it's more socialist types and they tend to be supporters of national liberation

putting aside the fact that MATB is not one big homoegnous lump (something that yourself and others never tire of telling us about libcom), what on earth does this even mean?

MT
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Mar 23 2009 08:52

how is this MATB thing related to the topic?

btw, did anyone take part in debating the co-op with the workers, some posters mentioned they were in touch with them.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 23 2009 09:16
jef costello wrote:
jolly roger wrote:
Hah, by there, I meant the forum, not the picture.

And I worked out it's a message board also. Lefties of all stripes, is it?

It's a tumour on the body politic.

It began as a home for people who had either been banned from urban75 or who were afraid of revol. Politically it's more socialist types and they tend to be supporters of national liberation. The discussions can be quite good sometimes, although I tend to get a bit of a hammering on there.

I think you'll find that all the polls of members show the majority are anarchist, or in favour of working class independence, socialists are in a small minority, and I'm not sure you could describe the dominant view on nationalism as pro national liberation, it's more naunced than that.

And you're more likely to get a hammering on your choice of jumper than your politics hand

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Mar 23 2009 09:29
MT wrote:
how is this MATB thing related to the topic?

btw, did anyone take part in debating the co-op with the workers, some posters mentioned they were in touch with them.

we had a whip round for them, basically many posters contributed and we raised over £200 which I then handed over. That's how its "related".

When I met them didn't debate the rights and wrongs of a co-op as such. Basically they had two choices, either pay to make the old company insolvent and start again (the old owner very sneakily sacked the staff but technically didn't wind up the company hence leaving redundancy payments up in the air) which would have cost 3-5 grand, or try and attract new investors to keep the company, run by all the workers jointly, as a going concern. The money we raised went towards that aim, keeping the thing afloat.

Any political discussion as being done in strictly pragmatic terms- I didn't get the sense that they were interested in the "patient explanation" of a cobweb-left agenda. Whilst they were grateful for the practical support of small far left groups like Solidarity, I don't think they had all that much use for their analysis. The sole focus is on getting themselves out the hole they currently find themselves in. They have been at pains in the media to stress that they are "not militants", but instead are seeking to redress the injnustice of their sacking without provision being made for redundancy pay.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Mar 23 2009 10:04

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/bar/phpBB3/memberlist.php?mode=group&g=829

There's even a member group for supporters of principled internationalism.

MT
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Mar 23 2009 10:36

Gresham, thanks for comments!
What is "a whip round"?wink And you mean by "we"? What group?

Also, reading other news (I don't have it here, it is on prisme workers facebook), one might think that it is pretty ok for the unions or politicians to support such actions of the workers. I think we all remember Obama supporting Windows Republic workers in Chicago. I just wonder what their perspective is and how does it affect communist approach to the matter.

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Mar 23 2009 11:50
oisleep wrote:
Quote:
Politically it's more socialist types and they tend to be supporters of national liberation

putting aside the fact that MATB is not one big homoegnous lump (something that yourself and others never tire of telling us about libcom), what on earth does this even mean?

Whilst no forum is a homogeneous lump, it would be false to deny Libcom was overran by a certain sort of behaviour. That doesn't mean that everyone is like that, just the few that are, are raucous enough to taint the place.

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Mar 23 2009 11:38
MT wrote:
Gresham, thanks for comments!
What is "a whip round"?wink And you mean by "we"? What group?

Also, reading other news (I don't have it here, it is on prisme workers facebook), one might think that it is pretty ok for the unions or politicians to support such actions of the workers. I think we all remember Obama supporting Windows Republic workers in Chicago. I just wonder what their perspective is and how does it affect communist approach to the matter.

People on MATB had a whip round, which is English slang for "collection of money". The thread is here if you want to read it:

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/bar/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=19878

As far as I can see, there isn't really a pre-action "perspective" at work here, rather, as i said in my original post, a desire to right the injustice they have suffered and to keep their place of work as a viable going concern. If there are any lessons, I'd suggest that it is the *absolute* irrelevance of "theory" to this struggle- it's very much one where theory follows the practical experience gained by the strikers in their struggle. Theory *following* practice seems to me to be the only way to go these days tbh.

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Mar 23 2009 11:41
MT wrote:
What is "a whip round"?wink And you mean by "we"? What group?

a whip round is where committed defenders of nationalist liberation pay cash money to principled internationalists to whip their bare buttocks until red raw

the 'we' is just a number of people who happen to post on the small message board called meanwhile at the bar (matb)

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Mar 23 2009 11:53

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Apr 24 2009 19:38
Quote:
Prisme Packaging Occupation
Press Release 22/04/09

After 51 days the Dundee Prisme workers have decided to end their occupation. The reason we have taken this decision is that it looks like we have secured funding to take our co-op venture forward and save the jobs that we thought had gone.

Our occupation began to secure our redundancy payments and other monies that were denied to us by our employer when we were sacked. However, during the occupation we also decided to fight to safeguard our jobs because we believed there was a viable business, even if our predecessors did not.. It looks like we have achieved this aim. A new company Discovery Packaging and Design Ltd is going to be launched on 1st May 2009.

This victory would not have been possible if it had not been for the support we have had from the general public, trade unionists, socialists and many others. This support and solidarity has been overwhelming and has helped give us the energy and determination to carry on for more than 7 weeks.

We said at the beginning of this that we were little people who had refused to be little anymore. We are proud of what we have achieved and our dignity is intact. We showed we would not be walked over by an uncaring employer.

We want to thank all those who have supported our struggle over the last 51 days, your support has been invaluable. Thanks once again to you all.

The Prisme workers will be leaving the factory together and united at 5pm on Friday 24th April. Come along and wish them well - bring your banners!