Dundee SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branches from Dundee

Archive for the 'Occupation' Category

Diageo: time for action

Posted by alangdundee on 15th September 2009

By Richie Venton, SSP national workplace organiser

The Diageo bosses have booted their workforces at Kilmarnock and Glasgow right in the teeth. These profit-hungry capitalists have spat in the face of mass public opinion – expressed through 20,000 marching in Kilmarnock, and 500,000 email protests to Diageo shareholders – by confirming closure of the 200-year-old plants. And they didn’t even pretend to consult; they announced this on day 71 of a 90-day consultation period.

The Scottish Socialist Party has from day one warned that multi-nationals like Diageo have only one care in the world: profit! They don’t give a toss about chucking 900 workers and their families on the scrapheap, virtually closing down the town of Kilmarnock in the process. And we have equally warned that any belief that such greedy profiteers can be persuaded by arguments into saving the plants was dangerously delusional – that the only language they will listen to is decisive action that wallops their wallets.

With this callous, arrogant announcement that they are forging ahead regardless, the time is rotten ripe for the unions to lead workers in a campaign of industrial action, to hit Diageo’s profit margins.

This could be accompanied by a truly international appeal for a mass consumer boycott, which would potentially have a devastating impact on a company that relies overwhelmingly on overseas markets, and its overseas image.

Already the campaign of protest emails and online petitions has garnered widespread support in the likes of the USA, one of Diageo’s prime markets, and the Teamsters’ Union has offered to support action by UNITE the union.

A tremendous publicity campaign has been conducted over the summer, on the streets, at football matches, and at golf and other sporting events sponsored by the world’s biggest drinks company. But unless the national union leaderships give confidence to workers to hit back with action that damages the production of profits for Paul Walsh and his cronies in the boardroom, there will soon be nothing left to fight back with.

Diageo’s chief executive Paul Walsh has just had another obscene boost to his wealth, at precisely the time he struts the world stage handing out redundancy notices to families who face a future of not knowing where the next meal will come from.

His ‘wage’ actually went down last year compared to 2008 – when he took home £5.1m. That previous income should help cushion him from having to exist on £3.5m in the year up to 30 June 2009 … the very day before the closure announcements!

That means a ‘salary’ of £67,300 a week! And if that is not vomit-inducing enough, his pension pot more than compensated for the fall in salary: it rose by £3.4m to £11.7m during the past year. So if this arrogant prat decides to retire, he stands to draw a pension of £637,000.

Walsh assured the SNP government-led Task Force – in an interview on BBC Scotland – that, I will be very open-minded when I look at the content of their alternative business plan. But in real life he didn’t wait even the derisory six days that elapsed between receiving the governments’ proposals and publicly shattering the fate of these workers who have given a lifetime to creating his obnoxious levels of wealth.

Within a couple of hours of declaring his open mind, Walsh was in the midst of a conference call to his cohorts in the USA, where he boasted:

A lot of the restructuring we’ve announced over time will help gross margin. They may invoke some letters to our shareholders, as we close plants in Scotland. But it’s the right thing to do for the future, and we have firmly grasped that nettle in order that we do not see gross margin slippage.

This arrogant contempt buries all the hopes of the SNP government, Ayrshire and Glasgow councils, and some in the leadership of the unions that – as Alex Salmond put it – we are looking for something that reconciles Diageo’s financial objectives with Scotland’s social objectives.

They are irreconcilable! Diageo has just announced another 4 per cent rise in their profits, to £2.6billion. But that is still not enough for these greedy parasites, so they want to cut back from three to two bottling and packaging plants in Scotland, chucking 900 families into despair, to save themselves £42m a year.

And if they get away with this butchery without a real shot being fired, how long will it be before they try to ship whisky across the high seas to be bottled in India or China by slave labour, closer to one of their huge markets?

Whilst the unions need to build members’ confidence for swift industrial action, and appeal for supportive consumer boycotts internationally, the government should drop it’s grovelling pleas for Diageo to accept public money and save maybe half of the 900 jobs; it’s not going to happen! Instead, they should seize the assets that have been built up by two centuries of workers’ skills and labour, supplemented by public subsidies to Diageo in the past, and turn them into public property, sustaining all jobs, embracing the know-how of workers in creating a genuine alternative plan for a publicly-owned drinks and food industry.

The time for action has arrived. Vast public support exists for the Diageo workforce in their plight. That could easily be channelled into a movement to halt the closures, with calls on the governments of Edinburgh and London to step in and bail out these workers, the way they were both so keen to do for the bankers who wrecked the economy in the first place.

Posted in Campaign, Economy, Occupation, Scotland, Strike, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Fighting Closures And Redundancies

Posted by alangdundee on 15th September 2009

By Richie Venton

6th August 2009

A rash of factory and workplace occupations is spreading across the globe as workers defy the brutal consequences of the recession.

Instead of surrendering to mass redundancies and outright closures – sometimes at a few minutes’ notice, often without even redundancy packages – workers are occupying their workplaces as a central method of struggling for justice.

Every example that wins concessions is boosting the belief of other workforces that there is an alternative to just resigning to the butchery in the boardrooms – that belligerent, militant class action can win at least something where workers have nothing to lose.

Socialists have a duty to assist fellow-workers in deploying the best methods of struggle to save jobs – as well as uniting workers around fighting socialist policies that would challenge and eliminate the need for redundancies.

Victory to Vestas

The sit-in at Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight has created a storm of international publicity and sympathy for the 600 workers who face the dole, at the very time the Labour government pledges to create 400,000 new green jobs over 5 years.

The 25 Vestas workers who staged this factory occupation, supported by a mass rally outside every night, displayed tremendous courage in the face of numerous attempts by the bully-boy, anti-union Vestas bosses to evict them.

They tried to starve them out, blocking food supplies being sent in by supporters. They threatened the sack and removal of redundancy payments from the workers staging the sit-in. They took out an injunction to gain re-possession of the factory – in order to close it and move production to the USA and China!

Vestas had no union recognition. Some workers joined a union and started organizing others. A group of them established a campaign committee and organised the sit-in from 20th July. This bold action won the active support of hundreds others – Vestas workers, other trade unionists, environmentalists, the local community – on an island where there are no other jobs to go to.

Vestas workers have gone further than any of the other recent factory sit-ins in terms of the demands they are making from their ‘campaign headquarters’ inside the factory: “Gordon Brown – Nationalise this!” declared the banner from day one.

A statement from the workers’ occupation declared, If the government can spend billions bailing out the banks – and even nationalize them – then surely they can do the same at Vestas.

Every victory encourages action

As well as organizing solidarity for these heroic fighters for jobs and the protection of the environment, we have a duty to learn from workers’ experiences of sit-ins as a method of struggle, particularly as redundancies and closures sweep the land like a pandemic.

Vestas is only the latest in a series of workplace occupations in the UK. And Thomas Cook workers in Dublin, members of the TSSA union, on 31st July occupied in defiance of closure of 100 offices.

The recent outbreak of factory take-overs in Britain and Ireland began with Waterford Glass workers occupying the plant on 30th January, when the employers announced an immediate end to production and 480 job losses.
After 8 weeks’ struggle, they reluctantly accepted a deal that saved 176 of the 480 jobs.

Visteon occupations

But their example fed the appetite of other workers facing savage closures under brutal terms and conditions. On 31st March, over 600 workers at three Visteon (ex Fords) plants in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon occupied and picketed when they were declared redundant at a few minutes’ notice, without any redundancy pay and with their pensions frozen.

A month later, appropriately on May Day, the workers won enhanced redundancy terms, payments in lieu of notice, and holiday pay.

As Kevin Nolan, UNITE union convener at the Enfield factory put it,

People ended up with a year and a half’s worth of salary. That’s a victory when you consider Visteon were hiding behind the recession as a way of completely abandoning all responsibility for 600 UK workers and just dumping them.

Prior to that high-profile sit-in, a small group of non-unionised workers at Prisme in Dundee occupied their workplace, encouraged by Waterford Glass workers, (who subsequently visited the Dundee sit-in). They had been sacked without notice and without any redundancy pay Fifty-one days later, the sit-in beat off the redundancies by establishing a cooperative.

Vital part of history

Workplace occupations are not a new form of struggle, of course, but this new wave of sit-ins follows many years of the method receding into the background.

Italian car workers seized their factories in northern Italy in the 1920s. What were dubbed ‘sit-won strikes’ swept countries like France and the USA in the mid-1930s. Closer to home and to the present, the most famous workplace occupation was the 1971-2 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) ‘work-in’ – in reply to the Tory government’s closure of the yards with at least 6,000 redundancies. This triggered a mass movement, saved many of the jobs after the Tories were forced into a U-turn, and was the impetus to at least 200 sit-ins across the UK in the first half of the 1970s.

For a time such audacious actions receded, although Lee Jeans (mostly women) workers in Greenock occupied in 1981; Caterpillar workers in Uddingston in 1986; and Glacier Metal workers in Glasgow won an outright victory after their seven-week occupation in November-December 1996.

Now, as the global capitalist crisis bites, with even more catastrophic closures and cut-backs on jobs looming, this form of struggle could come back into its own.

Powerful weapons of struggle

Sit-ins are a powerful weapon, paralysing production; psychologically bringing the battle into the bosses’ ‘own territory’; preventing them from stripping the factory of machinery and equipment that they may want to shift to other production sites, including abroad, in their hunt for subsidies and cheaper labour; preventing bosses from bussing in scabs past picket lines that are hamstrung by anti-union laws and deployment of the police (as seen, for example, at Timex in 1993).

But a sit-in ‘with folded arms’ can still be defeated, or at best win shoddy concessions far short of the potential victories on the agenda, if workers’ occupations are not accompanied by concerted campaigning outside the sit-in.

When workers facing closures consider a sit-in they should also try to prepare for a campaign of seeking solidarity from fellow workers and local communities – or at least put that into action as soon as they occupy. Such outgoing, concerted campaigning is critical, firstly to help prevent employers evicting them, secondly to enhance the prospects of outright victory for their demands. That was the advice we put into action from day one of the Glacier Metal occupation in 1996. It is clearly what the Vestas workers are ably applying.

Touring other workplaces; taking to the streets with leaflets, bucket collections and megaphones to explain the case behind the sit-ins; organizing solidarity mass pickets, rallies and demonstrations – all this and more was done in conquering outright victory for the 1996 Glacier Metal workers sit-in, and is the method being applied at other recent occupations to one extent or another.

Demands from the sit-ins

The other key question that remains is: what do workers demand whilst they occupy their workplace?

Of course that depends on what they are fighting against! In the case of Glacier Metal it was mass dismissal of the entire workforce in the drive to smash the union and rip up hard-won conditions. Full re-instatement of every worker, with continuity of terms and conditions, and continued union recognition, were the demands of the sit-in. And that was what was won!

In the case of Visteon, workers occupied to win redundancy payments and protection of their pensions. They won substantial concessions, though they still lost their jobs.

Vestas workers have made the most far-reaching demands – and absolutely appropriate ones to the situation, occupying in support of nationalization of the factory. With the need to save jobs and simultaneously save the planet from catastrophic climate change, the best route is public ownership of the UK’s only wind turbine factory, as part of the call for public ownership of the energy industry as a means of democratically planning clean, green energy production.

Most occupations arise from closures or mass redundancies. So defence of every job is the starting point. And instead of pouring a fortune from the public purse down the throats of profiteering bosses who are hell-bent on racing across the globe in pursuit of super-profits, workers and their unions should champion the demand for public ownership of the assets, under democratic working class control, to sustain jobs.

Alternative plans of production

In situations where a workers’ inspection of the company accounts and the industry concludes that continued production of their pervious products are either unviable or undesirable, alternative plans of socially useful and environmentally friendly output comes into its own.

Way back in the 1970s, workers at Lucas aerospace plants constructed such workers’ alternative plans of production. In subsequent years, several other examples were produced by workers in struggle, with the help of sympathetic experts. And the unions and peace movement have published well-researched proposals for jobs diversification in the defence industry that would actually increase employment.

In the 21st century, this is especially important, with vast scope for job protection and job creation to match the need for green social production, such as energy-efficient housing, a vastly expanded, integrated public transport network, and production and distribution of clean green energy. 

Reverse the tide of closures

Workplace occupations are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method of struggle, applicable on every single occasion.

They should not be turned into a fetish. But they are an enormously powerful weapon of struggle that should be utilized far more widely in the teeth of closures and mass redundancies, and in the vast majority of cases have won huge concessions or outright victories.

Strikes are another indispensable means of fighting to defend jobs. Often they are the most viable method of resistance in workforces spread around scattered workplaces – as in the Royal Mail currently, the civil service – and places that provide services rather than being centres of industrial production. On the other hand, in some conditions, strikes against closures can sometimes allow the employers to just walk away, leaving whole communities wrecked. Strikes can sometimes be more akin to a boss’s lock-out, and less effective in stopping asset-stripping by employers shifting production to richer pastures for profiteering.

In stark contrast to both, appeals to the employers’ good nature to ‘change their minds’ about closures are a pitifully weak response to the boardroom boot-boys, who will only ever ‘change their minds’ when they know the alternative is carnage for their reputation and profit levels.

Many workers will increasingly see they have nothing to lose in the teeth of mass redundancies, and a lot to win by taking up the cudgels. As Visteon’s UNITE convener Kevin Nolan recently told Labour Research magazine,

We just thought: ‘What do we have to lose?’ So we just went for it. If anyone else is in the same position I’d say weigh everything up and if you think there’s a chance of winning something back or improving your situation by occupying the place, then go for it.

By seizing control of the company assets, including valuable machinery, plus halting production, whilst using the workplace as a huge campaign headquarters, occupations provide workers with an unprecedented platform to take on the bosses who want to heap the crisis they have created on the shoulders of working people.

We have a duty to concretely assist every group of workers who take such action; every victory won is a boost to the generalized struggle to save jobs, not profits, to reverse the tide of closures and cut-backs endured for far too long. The national unions, TUC and STUC should urgently call rallies and demonstrations in solidarity with all who have the courage to stand up for jobs, and give courage to those cowed by the Juggernaut of closures and redundancies.

Posted in Dundee, Economy, Occupation, Public Services, Strike, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Sit-in at Wyndford Primary continues – they need your support.

Posted by alangdundee on 2nd July 2009

Sit-Richie Venton, Glasgow Save Our Schools Campaign organiser, spoke to parents inside the sit-in.

Parents have occupied Wyndford primary school in Maryhill since Friday 26th June, as the doors were slammed shut by Glasgow Labour council at the end of the school year.

This audacious action has thrown the arrogant council leader, Steven Purcell, who expected all to go quiet over the summer holidays, hoping that by the time of the next council elections in 2012, everyone would have forgotten about their dirty deeds against kids and communities across the city.

The council has made no pretence of negotiations with the sit-in. They have just fired out statements that the sit-in is pointless, the school is shut, end of story.

Yet despite all their arrogant strutting, the same council has thrown sops towards the local community in the form of proposals for a new Family and Recreation Centre, based in the neighbouring school (also shut), St Gregory’s.

This is a crude attempt to buy off the anger in the community, generated by their brutal closures, which leaves the Wyndford estate a desert in terms of facilities. None of this would have happened without the ferocious battle mounted by local people, through the Save Our Schools Campaign. And it is too little, too late.

I spoke to several of the parents staging the occupation, inside the school, about their aims and feelings.

I would appeal to everyone reading their comments below to:

  • (a) contact them with messages of support on 0778 350 8740
  • (b) try to visit the sit-in at Glenfinan Drive , near Tescos in Maryhill Rd – if possible with supplies of food and water
  • (c) build attendance of adults and kids at the sit-in’s Water Festival, Thursday 2nd July at 1pm – in response to the council’s dirty tricks department – who today (Tuesday) cut off drinking water supplies under the disguise of checking an imaginary gas leak.

Bring the kids, bring water pistols, bring supplies.

Tell the Council that the school occupation won’t get dirty like the Glasgow Labour Council!!

What the occupiers say:

We want a school in the community. We have nothing. We are waiting for a Judicial Review on the issue of nursery parents not being consulted on the closure of the primary.

We don’t want a school – we need a school in this community!

The other schools offered by the council are too far away, along dangerous routes.

On 23rd June the council put a proposal to make St Gregory’s primary into a Family Centre, and to turn the existing Recreation Centre into a power station for the Wyndford estate.

So if St Gregory’s is good enough for a Family Centre, it’s good enough for a school. All we are asking for is one school in the estate, we’re not even being greedy, asking to keep both St Gregory’s and Wyndford primary.

Family Centres can be built anywhere, so why compromise a school for it? And the Glasgow council are only offering this because right throughout the campaign we shouted that we have nothing, no facilities, from one end of Maryhill to the other.

Our fear is that the council want to demolish the school building – possibly to use the ground for a part of the Family and Recreation Centre. CMI, a demolition firm, has already been in twice to inspect the building, for asbestos before demolition. That’s another reason we’re holding the sit-in, to stop demolition.

Since we occupied the school last Friday afternoon we’ve not seen the Council. No talks or negotiations. Then today (Tuesday) they sent along a council worker pretending to be looking for a gas leak, cutting off the water to the school. And it seems it’s just the drinking water they’ve cut off. Well that won’t shift us either.

In reply we are organising a Water Festival on Thursday (2nd July) at 1pm – a bit of fun for the kids, with paddling pools and water pistols. Our message is ‘join us – don’t let the school occupiers become as dirty as Glasgow city council!’

The community is still united. St Gregory’s parents have been in to help us occupy Wyndford, and they have helped stage the barricades on the gates to stop the Council getting equipment out of the building.

On Saturday they sent in 30 vans. They loaded up with school furniture and equipment. But because parents, kids and supporters refused to budge on the gates, we forced them to unload again and have the vans inspected by us before they went away!

On Monday they sent two vans to pick up the safe and photocopiers, but pickets on the gates appealed to them, sat down on the road, and the drivers turned away empty-handed.

We’re appealing for support and supplies – including food and water – from the local community and people from other areas and schools. We’ve had parents and grandparents from as far away as Barmulloch, St Gilbert’s and St Agnes schools here supporting us.

As Barmulloch parents we think it is great what Wyndford are doing. We are happy to help in any way we can.

We’re not moving until they give us a school; they can turn off whatever they want. Our message to the council is ‘you’ve shut our schools, but we’re still here, we’re still in your face’.

Posted in Campaign, Glasgow, Occupation, Public Services, Richie Venton, Save Our Schools, Schools, Scotland | No Comments »

Glasgow Save our Schools

Posted by alangdundee on 4th April 2009


Save Our Schools parents and education workers are occupying Wyndford Primary and St Gregorys in Maryhill. People living near by are asked to go to the school with food supplies and messages of support. Text messages of support to:

Wyndford: 07894 123721

St. Gregory’s: 07776 396152

Demonstration in support of schools occupations today (Saturday 4th April) at 12 Midday

The Glasgow-wide Save Our Schools Campaign is appealing to people from the local community and across Glasgow to join a demonstration in support of parents occupying Wyndford and St Gregory’s primary schools today at 12 noon.

The support event is at Wyndford and St Gregory’s schools, Glenfinnan Drive, at the back of Maryhill Rd Tescos.

SSP on the Save our Schools campaign

Posted in Campaign, Demo, Education, Glasgow, Occupation, Public Services, Save Our Schools, Schools, Scotland | No Comments »

Visteon car workers in Belfast occupy against cuts

Posted by alangdundee on 2nd April 2009

We need to rush now to get messages of support / offers of help to John Maguire, Belfast Unite Convenor – 07816590380, dmcmurray@unitetheunion.com

by Simon Basketter

Some 200 workers have occupied the Visteon car parts plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, against job cuts.

The workers went into occupation on Tuesday after the bosses summarily announced the closure of the plant with the loss of all jobs.

Davy MacMurray, from the Unite union, said the way the job cuts were announced was brutal. He said, The administrator came in, held a meeting and told the workforce their employment was terminated. These people were going to be put out on the street tonight.

Visteon took over the plant from Ford in 2000. All the parts the plant makes were for Ford.
One occupying worker told Socialist Worker, Ford have a commitment and agreement with the unions that there would never be compulsory redundancies. At the very least we should get the same redundancy package as Ford workers.

In the early evening the 200-strong workforce was holding protests both inside and outside the plant. Supporters were bringing supplies and sleeping bags. The furious workers are fighting to be treated with decency by the company and the administrators. They are planning protests tomorrow at Ford dealerships across the city.

Jon Macquire the Unite union convenor at the plant, spoke to Socialist Worker from the occupation. Ford and Visteon have manipulated this situation together, he said.

We have been treated disgracefully. We are occupying the factory to save our jobs. There was no consultation whatsoever – they simply announced the closure.

They have put the pension scheme into administration. To make it clear – we are in for the long haul and are committed to get proper redundancy packages and pensions.

We are determined to continue our occupation and we appeal on workers throughout Ireland, Britain and internationally to support our fight to defend jobs.

Visteon has also announced the closure of is plants in Basildon and Enfield – threatening another 400 jobs.

Posted in Campaign, International, Occupation, Strike | No Comments »

14th March Roundup

Posted by alangdundee on 14th March 2009

A number of important event have happened locally yesterday.

On Friday it was announced that manufacturing was to close down at NCR. This will also lead to a number of job losses at related companies including Taylor Group Diecastings Limited.

Texol also announced their closure.

The Evening Telegraph has a depressing list of the major job losses which have hit Dundee in the last two years: 1539 jobs in total. This does not include the recent announcements just in time for the end of the financial year and the big bonus payments to the bosses.

It is yet to be seen if these workers will fight back having seen the Prisme workers do so.

There is now a Prisme workers fund, send cheques with payment to: TUC Lobby Fund, to
Prisme Workers Solidarity,
c/o Mike Arnott,
Dundee TUC,
141 Yarrow Terrace,
DD2 4DY.

The other event overshadowed by these depressing reports was the election results in the Maryfield by election. As expected the SNP walked it, although surprisingly not in the first round. The SSP had a disappointing result but it was as we expected. In a two horse race like a by election the votes get squeezed for smaller parties. It is unknown how many second votes were given to the SSP after giving a first vote to Labour or the SNP. In a normal council election with multiple councillors being elected these may be passed to us, in this case there was no chance of them ever being passed to us.

The people of Dundee have resoundingly said they want an SNP council. They were the largest party returned at the council elections and at the two subsequent by elections won them both comfortably. It is yet to be seen if the anti-democratic coalition of Labour/Tories/Liberal Democrats. Ian Borthwick got off the fence last time and sided with the will of the voters in Dundee, it is to be seen if he will do so again.

Not that an SNP council will be an improvement for the working class of Dundee. Just ask teachers or nursery nurses in nearby Angus Council how an SNP council treats it’s employees.

Posted in Campaign, Council, Dundee, Election, Maryfield by-election, Occupation, Public Services, Scotland, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Outrage as Police Threaten to Confiscate Strike Fund

Posted by alangdundee on 8th March 2009

Outside the Labour Party conference there were a number of protests about the organisation’s presence in the city, from those dressed as fat cats objecting to billions being given to the bunch of bankers, to Palestine Solidarity stalls.

Among them were members of the SSP and of Solidarity working together to highlight the Prisme occupation and raise funds for them.

The police, prompted by a complaint by a member of the public (most likely some Labour Party loyalist, approached each of these in turn to threaten them with further action should they not desist from their activities. The Palestine Solidarity Stall were spoken to for a while. The fatcat banker was warned over his possession of clearly fake money – something companies and churches use all the time for advertising and prosthletising respectively.

Most outrageously was the police action over the solidarity with Prisme workers. Those collecting were told that they must immediately stop collecting money. Their names, addresses and work details were taken. They were further informed that if they continued to collect money in a bucket they would be charged and that the money would be seized.

The rest is nonsense and worth fighting for a day in court, but the threat to seize donations raised for workers in struggle was believed to be most serious. The SSP unreservedly condemn the police decision in this case. Surely for one Tayside Police have better things to do such as continually and habitually break the speed limit without penalty, such as their 140MPH+ chief constable. Secondly the money is being raised for workers who have been treated appallingly by their employer.

We will continue to work with the striking workers and to raise money for them. Currently they have no mechanism for receiving donations other than directly in cash, so we will publicise any other ways to do so if and when they are available.

Posted in Accountability, Campaign, Civil Liberties, Dundee, Occupation, Scotland, Strike | 1 Comment »

Prisme workers photos

Posted by alangdundee on 6th March 2009

Pictures from the occupation at Prisme. Due to technical difficulties, i.e. e-mails going AWOL, they are slightly delayed.

Group with banner

Group with banner

Group with banner

Group with banner



Posted in Campaign, Dundee, Occupation, Scotland | No Comments »

Rally Tomorrow to Support Prisme Workers

Posted by alangdundee on 6th March 2009

The Facebook group is reporting two rallies happening tomorrow in support of the workers.

Rally Saturday 7 March 10am City Square, Dundee (5 minutes from train station), outside Labour Party Conference

12pm at Prisme Factory, Tannadice Street (next to stadium, across from Jerry Kerr stand, 20 minutes from city centre)

Also from group an interview with Matthew, one of the workers

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.

Posted in Campaign, Dundee, Occupation, Scotland | 2 Comments »

Colin Fox on Visit to Prisme Workers

Posted by alangdundee on 6th March 2009

Colin Fox on the visit

Prisme Packaging Workers Occupy Factory

Thirteen people at Prisme Packaging in Dundee lost their jobs on Wednesday the latest victims of an increasingly brutal recession. Their firm, which manufactures cardboard boxes, lost its biggest customer on Monday and has subsequently gone bust.

But this non union workforce found to their cost that they are more vulnerable with the treatment they received as the firms owners announced they were all sacked with immediate effect and would not receive any redundancy pay or even their wages for March.

They were each handed a letter telling them they would not get a penny piece even though some of them had worked there for 14 years and were legally entitled to severance pay as the firm had gone bust. Their response was immediate and unanimous, they occupied the factory and took control of the assets.

Since I happened to be up in Dundee on Thursday, campaigning for SSP candidate Angela Gorrie in next weeks Maryfield by election, I went along to offer my support to the occupation.

I was delighted to meet Matthew, Christine, David and the others and find them in such good spirits considering what had happened to them. I recounted my experience in the Caterpillar occupation of 1988 and pledged support from the SSP in helping them save their jobs or at least secure the redundancy monies they are entitled to.

Posted in Campaign, Colin Fox, Dundee, Occupation, Scotland | No Comments »


Promoted by Kevin McVey on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party, Suite 370, 4th Floor Central Chambers 93 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LD.